PM Modi to be invited by Pakistan to attend SAARC summit
The summit has not been held since 2016, when India decided to pull out of a summit to be hosted by Pakistan following a string of terror attacks. Since SAARC works by consensus, the summit could not be held.Updated: Nov 27, 2018 19:05 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to Pakistan for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit, Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday even as Punjab state minister Navjot Sidhu arrived in Pakistan for the groundbreaking of the Kartarpur corridor.
Addressing an event in Islamabad, Faisal made the remarks about inviting the Indian premier to the Saarc Summit which was to have been held in Islamabad in 2016 but was called off after New Delhi pulled out over the Uri terror attack that was blamed on Pakistan-based elements.
Faisal pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan had in his first address said that Pakistan would take two steps if India took one step forward. He said Khan, while responding to Modi’s letter, had expressed Pakistan’s openness to resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue.
“We fought a war with India, relations cannot be fixed quickly,” Faisal was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Faisal said the Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate visa-free travel for Sikh pilgrims between Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur and Kartarpur Gurdwara in Narowal, will be inaugurated on Wednesday and is expected to be completed within six months.
He described the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pakistani side of Kartarpur Corridor as a great success for Pakistan.
Meanwhile, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu arrived in Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor at the invitation of foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking on Wednesday.
Sidhu thanked Khan and told journalists at Wagah that he had come with “a message of love and peace”.
“The seed sown by Imran Khan three months ago has become a tree and me and 120 million Sikhs could not be happier. I want to thank the Pakistani prime minister and officials,” he said, speaking in Punjabi.
“The Karturpur corridor will prove to be a path of peace and instead of 60 years, happiness can come in six months through it. This corridor will be the reason that borders between both the countries open,” Sidhu added.
The proposal to construct the corridor was mentioned by Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to Sidhu when he attended Imran Khan’s swearing-in in August. The 4-km corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib at Narowal in Pakistan and provide visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara built at the spot where Guru Nanak died.
On Monday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone for the Indian section of the corridor in Gurdaspur.
First Published: Nov 27, 2018 17:23 IST