Indo-Pak tensions: Talks on Kartarpur Corridor today

Sources say meeting will decide on number of Sikh pilgrims to be allowed daily to Gurdwara Sahib


Asif Mehmood September 04, 2019
PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: The third round of talks between Pakistan and India on Kartarpur Corridor will be held today (Wednesday) on the Indian side of the border, Wagah-Attari, to deliberate on the rules and regulations, a number of Sikh pilgrims to be allowed daily, the procedure of entry, building the causeway, visa fees, and other points.

According to diplomatic sources, the Pakistani side will be led by Foreign Office Spokesperson and Director General South Asia & SAARC Dr Muhammad Faisal.

Sources said that the meeting would decide on the number of Sikh pilgrims to be allowed daily to Gurdwara Sahib. Besides, it was reported that Pakistan would set an entry fee for the pilgrims, while India wanted the entry to be free.

Both the countries have agreed for on-line registration of pilgrims, however, the number of days required for online registration prior to arrival is yet to be decided.  Besides, Pakistan would discuss other matters relating to Kartarpur Corridor including constructing a causeway.

It is also been informed that after the meeting, representatives of Pakistan and India would hold separate press conferences.

A senior Indian analyst Ravinder Singh said he does not expect hundred percent results from the meeting due to trust deficit between Pakistan and India, otherwise heads of both the sides would be holding a joint news conference.

After negotiations on July 14, Dr Faisal had said that both the countries had agreed 80 per cent on issues, while 20 per cent needed to be discussed.

Pakistan has completed more than 90 per cent work on the Kartarpur Corridor whereas work on the Indian side continues.

From Pakistan’s side, Kartarpur Corridor is expected to be opened on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji on November 11.

Pakistan has kept the corridor project insulated from the recent tensions with India over the annulment of Article 370, subsequent repressive actions in occupied Kashmir and intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Control. The project had also remained unaffected by the previous episode of escalation between the two sides following the Pulwama attack in February.

Pakistan has taken a number of actions in response to the latest Indian move to end occupied Kashmir’s autonomous status, including the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of trade and rail traffic.

There has also been speculation about the closure of airspace for Indian aircraft. Dr Faisal had at his weekly media briefing on Thursday said that several options were being studied, but no final decision had been taken.

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