Kartarpur corridor hits roadblock

Technical talks held up as two sides argue whether to build causeway or bridge


Asif Mehmood May 28, 2019
PHOTO: FO/FILE

LAHORE: The technical experts from Pakistan and India could not agree on the joint affairs of construction for Kartarpur Corridor in the third meeting held between the two sides at zero line.

Officials of Federal Investigation Agency, customs, construction, Pakistan Rangers Punjab and Survey of Pakistan appeared from the Pakistani side whereas officials of the National Highway Authority of India, Border Security Force and Customs & Immigration appeared on behalf of India.

Sources said that the meeting lasted only one hour during which the representatives of both the sides exchanged details of the construction work.

Technical experts on Kartarpur meet today

Sources said that India wants the construction of a kilometer-long bridge on Ravi River while Pakistan suggested the need to construct a road. The Indian officials were of the view that owing to floods in Ravi, the road could be affected.

However, the Pakistani officials did not agree to the proposal and said that in case of flooding a dam could be built around the road and the inclination of the road could be kept high.

The date for next meeting between the two sides could not be agreed upon.

Earlier, technical teams from Pakistan and India met on April 16 this year. The meeting saw the two countries presenting each other with some reservations over their recommendations.

Delegations of Pakistani and Indian technical experts also met on March 19 at the proposed zero line to discuss and finalise the development of the Kartarpur Corridor. It was decided after this meeting that both sides will present surveys and maps for border fencing and developmental work on the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to their respective governments.

India’s postponement of talks can endanger Kartarpur initiative: FO

Officials from both the countries held a meeting on March 14 this year at Attari border in India while a meeting scheduled to be held within Pakistani limits on April 2 was abruptly cancelled by New Delhi.

Pakistan has said that the work on Kartarpur Corridor will be completed before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November this year.

The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib — a small town in Narowal, four kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, where Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

The groundbreaking of the project on the Pakistani side was performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Kartarpur Sahib on November 28, 2018.

In January, Pakistan had shared its draft of Kartarpur Corridor Accord with India and invited its delegation for a visit to negotiate the document.

India, however, instead of accepting the proposal on that occasion, insisted on hosting the meeting and asked Pakistani officials to visit Delhi either on February 26 or March 7. Although the counter-proposals from Islamabad and Delhi had given the impression of a sort of standoff on the issue, Islamabad had, instead of reacting negatively to the position taken by India in response to its original suggestion, vowed to “take the process forward”.

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