Pakistan on Thursday said that the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir will not have any impact on the construction of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
“Work on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor will be continued,” Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
On July 14, India and Pakistan concluded the second round of technical-level talks on the modalities for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor at which Pakistan assured the Indian side that it would not allow anti-India activity at the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara.
Islamabad’s assurance came after New Delhi expressed fears that Pakistan-based individuals and organisations might try to disrupt the pilgrimage or play with the sentiments of pilgrims, according to a press release issued by the External Affairs Ministry.
The importance of ensuring a safe and secure environment for the pilgrims was underscored by the Indian side at the talks between top officials of the two countries held at Wagah on Pakistan’s side of the border. A dossier was also handed over to Pakistan by India to highlight its concerns.
The meeting discussed the modalities and draft agreement for the facilitation of pilgrims on the corridor, as also the infrastructure being developed there.
Despite tensions in bilateral ties, both India and Pakistan have expressed their commitment to expedite the progress on the Kartarpur corridor to ensure that it was operationalised in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak in November.
The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur.
The corridor was a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.
As tensions between India and Pakistan escalated once again after Centre scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution, it was speculated that the work on the corridor might get hindered.
Pakistan had on Wednesday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India over the Kashmir move. It expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and suspended trade with India.
The decision was taken at a meeting of National Security Committee (NSC) – the second within a week – presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the situation following the Indian government’s move on Kashmir.