Ex-Indian PM to attend Kartarpur opening as 'common man' instead of 'chief guest'

Published: October 20, 2019
Manmohan Singh. PHOTO: AFP

Manmohan Singh. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said Pakistan has taken maximum steps to facilitate Sikh Yatrees who will arrive in Kartarpur to participate in the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Sikh religions founder Baba Guru Nanak.

“All arrangements have been finalised to open Kartarpur Corridor and Prime Minister Imran Khan would inaugurate the facility on November 9,” said the foreign minister while talking to media-persons on Saturday.

“India was reluctant to open the corridor, but agreed later on due to public pressure from Indian Punjab. India would arrange a ceremony regarding Kartarpur Corridor on November 8,” said Qureshi.

He said daily 5,000 Sikh pilgrims would visit Pakistan through the corridor, adding that the pilgrims’ caravans were ready to visit their religious places in Pakistan and waiting for the inauguration.

He said Pakistan had invited India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh as chief guest at the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor, but he sent a letter in which he said he would participate as a common man instead of a chief guest.

To a question, Qureshi said the country’s economy is strengthening day by day and export has increased to 5.9 per cent while a decrease of 11 to 13 per cent has been witnessed in import.

He said Pakistani currency is stable as the US dollar is being sold at Rs155, adding that the next phase is to speed up development and progress in the country.

The foreign minister said the government is trying to control inflation.

To another question, Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve the ongoing conflict between both the countries through dialogue, adding that Saudi leadership has also shown their willingness to resolve issues through negotiations.

“Some elements are trying to destroy the peace of the region to break the unity among Muslim Ummah.”

About the so-called Azadi march by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Qureshi said the future of democracy is bright as the people are now well aware of the ongoing situation of the region.

Rejecting an impression of martial law in the country, he said the country has to avoid instability in order to bring economic stability and attract investment in the country.

He said the victory of Grand Democratic Alliance’s candidate Moazzam Ali Abbas in by-elections at PS-11 Larkana reflected that people of Sindh want to change. “I had already said that there would be PTI and its allies’ government in Sindh after the next general elections,” he added.

The minister strongly condemned the recent blasts in Afghanistan, saying the reduction in violence is vital for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. He said there “is always space for dialogue” in politics, adding that the government has formed a committee for this purpose.

He said the JUI-F leader should avoid any step which strengthens anti-Pakistan elements. He said the peaceful protest is the right of anyone and the government “is bound for implementation of the law”.

On this occasion, he welcomed Farooq Bunda and his supporters for joining the PTI, saying the party would further strengthen after the participation of local leaders of different political parties.

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