Is Pakistan playing tantrums and fooling India in Kartarpur corridor construction?

17 Mars, 2019, 09:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Pakistan agrees to visa-free corridor for Kartarpur gurdwara wants restrictions on Indian pilgrims

The group, which used to perpetrate attacks in the Jammu and Kashmir state, is affiliated with Taliban movement and al-Qaeda terrorist organization and aims to separate Kashmir from India and to merge it into neighboring Pakistan.

Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik Friday lashed out at Pakistan for trying to put restrictions on number of pilgrims visiting the historic Sikh shrine in Kartarpur.

While India sought for opening the corridor on all seven days for daily visits of pilgrims, Pakistan has restricted the visits to certain days. He expressed hope that the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan will not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India, but in the current vitiated situation, it can be a "step forward in right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship".

Pakistan while assuring visa-free corridor to the pilgrims has added a condition wherein the pilgrims will be required to furnish a special permit, defeating the basic objective of having the dedicated corridor, the sources told ANI.

Interestingly, when India and Pakistan had signed a pact in 1974 to facilitate the visit of their pilgrims to the shrines located in each other's territories, Kartarpur Sahib was not included despite repeated Indian requests.

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Pakistan has so far resisted all attempts to include Kartarpur in the 1974 MoU, the official said. Several differences - including on the number of pilgrims permitted daily, the number of days the corridor would be operational and a permit system for pilgrims - emerged during these talks.

Even after the Pulwama terrorist attack on Feb 14, India had a joint meet with Pakistan on the construction of the corridor and Pakistan side played all tricks to spook the work of the corridor. The Pakistan delegation was led by Mohammad Faisal, Director General of the South Asia Division in the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. India had on Thursday sought visa-free access for 5,000 pilgrims per day to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan during a meeting between officials of the two countries.

The meeting was held at Attari in Gurdaspur district of Punjab on Thursday. This will be preceded by a meeting of technical experts on March 19 at the proposed zero points to finalize the alignment, the joint statement added.

India has already made it clear that the talks on the corridor were being held keeping in mind the emotions and sentiments of the Sikh community and could not be considered the resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

Kartarpur is a small town in Narowal, some four kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, where the founder of Sikh religion Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

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