No Kartarpur meet likely before Lok Sabha polls
India and Pakistan are not expected to hold any more meetings on the Kartarpur corridor before the country’s general elections as Islamabad is yet to respond to issues raised by New Delhi, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.
On March 29, India called off the second meeting with Pakistan to discuss modalities for the corridor, which was scheduled for April 2, over the inclusion of pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh in a Pakistani committee to facilitate Sikh pilgrims.
Pakistan is yet to respond to concerns formally raised by India about the inclusion of pro-Khalistan activists in the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) and requests for clarifications on other issues, such as the number of pilgrims who will be allowed to use the corridor every day and visa-free visits to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, the people cited above said.
“It is unlikely any more meetings will be held before the elections,” an official, who didn’t want to be named, said.
India is, however, hopeful a meeting of technical experts it has proposed to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point could go ahead. “The experts can meet along the border and discuss these issues,” the official added.
Asked about the Kartarpur corridor at a regular news briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We remain committed to realise the wishes and aspirations of the people, which flow out of the pending demand of Indian pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur gurdwara using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner.”
Though New Delhi had sought clarifications from Islamabad on several issues, the matter remains “unaddressed by Pakistan”, Kumar said.
“We had also shared our concerns on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee which was to be associated with Kartarpur corridor. We are yet to receive a response from Pakistan,” he added.
The corridor will connect the gurdwara in Kartarpur — the final resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak – with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district. India and Pakistan have said they plan to open the corridor for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in November.