Pakistan, India to resume Kartarpur talks

The meeting is set to take place on the 16th of this month

Kamran Yousaf April 08, 2019
The meeting is set to take place on the 16th of this month. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: A day after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi disclosed that India was planning a new ‘military adventure’ against Pakistan, the two countries on Monday agreed to arrange a meeting of their technical experts on the Kartarpur Corridor.

The meeting is set to take place on the 16th of this month, the date on which Qureshi had earlier revealed India could carry out military action against Pakistan.

"Pakistan has reliable intelligence that India is hatching a new plan for aggression against Pakistan. This can happen in between 16th to 20th April,” he had said on Sunday.

But despite tensions, Pakistan accepted the Indian proposal for a technical meeting on the corridor.

Using his twitter handle, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Monday said Pakistan had accepted the latest Indian proposal as part of its ‘continuing spirit of constructive engagement’.

The spokesperson said Pakistan expects positivity from India so that the corridor becomes reality for the 550th celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak.

India pulled out the talks on Kartarpur scheduled for April 2 at Wagah on the Pakistani side of the border. The last minute move by New Delhi prompted Islamabad to say that the historic initiative could be in danger.

India refused to send its team after raising concerns regarding composition of the committee announced by Pakistan to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims.

Responding to the Indian concerns, Pakistan clarified that the 10-member, purely religious committee referred to by India [the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC)] was not specific to Kartarpur Sahib but was responsible for upkeep of all Sikh Gurdwaras in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Sikh community flays India for shying away from Kartarpur talks

At a weekly news briefing last Friday, Dr Faisal had made it clear that India would be responsible if the corridor was not operational by the end of this year.

Gurduwara Kartarpur Sahib, considered the most holiest place in the Sikh religion, is located in Narowal and is only four kilometres from the Indian border.

The Shrine is visible from the Indian side of the border and everyday a larger number of Sikh devotees gather to perform Darshan or sacred viewings of the site.

The proposal to build a corridor connecting Dera Baba Nanak in India with Kartar Sahib in Pakistan has been there for two decades. The idea began to take shape when Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in August last year.

In November, he laid the foundation of the corridor that is supposed to be operational on the 550th Birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November this year.

The two sides continued talks on the corridor despite their recent military standoff. India, which otherwise refused to engage with Pakistan, is finding it hard to run away from the Kartarpur initiative given the religious sentiments of Indian Sikhs.


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