Even as he extended a warm welcome to IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on his return home, Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, on Friday urged Pakistan to admit to, and release the Prisoners of War (PoWs) still in its captivity from the 1971 war.

In an informal chat with reporters as part of his tour of the border areas in the wake of the escalating tensions at the Line of Control (LoC), the CM also urged the Indian government to take up the issue with Islamabad. Expressing happiness that talks to further simplify the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor were on track despite the tensions, Amarinder requested the Central government to allow 5,000-10,000 pilgrims to cross through every day once the corridor becomes operational.

He recalled his own family’s close connection with the Kartarpur Gurdwara which his grandfather Bhupinder Singh had helped rebuild after the 1928 floods. On the compensation to the people whose land was being acquired for the Corridor, the CM said the state government will take up the matter with the Indian government. He hoped that tensions along the border will be resolved soon and Sikhs across the globe get the opportunity to offer prayer at the historic Kartarpur Gurdwara with speedy completion of the Corridor.

The CM, who went around Haruwal village in Gurdaspur district as part of his tour of the border villages to instill confidence among the residents, said he would be the first one to cross the border to pay his obeisance at the historic Gurdwara.

Addressing a gathering at Dera Baba Nanak, the CM said he was in constant touch with the Central government and the state government was well prepared for any eventuality.

During his tour, Amarinder shared a cup of tea with BSF personnel at the BSF border observation post at Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur (10 Battalion BSF sector HQ BSF Gurdaspur).

He also interacted with Indian Army officers and men at an army camp in the border district of Gurdaspur to boost their morale and appreciated their courage in these stressful times.

Earlier, on arrival in Gurdaspur, the CM took stock of the situation and was briefed by DIG Border Range and Deputy Commissioner Gurdaspur regarding the steps taken for the safety and security of the residents.