General

Kartarpur Corridor: Pakistani delegation left for India to negotiate

A Pakistani delegation on Thursday left for India to negotiate a mechanism to govern operations of the Kartarpur Corridor, which will provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib — a small town in Narowal, 4 kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, where Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.
The corridor is planned to be opened for Sikh pilgrims this year in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. The ground breaking of the project on Pakistani side has already been performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Kartarpur Sahib on Nov 28, 2018.
According to Radio Pakistan, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while talking to media persons before leaving for India, expressed his confidence that the dialogue on corridor could be a step forward in the right direction in the current vitiated situation from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship.
Talking about the religious importance of the corridor, the spokesperson told the media that Gurdwara Darbar Sahab was built at a site on the Pakistan side and Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in India.
“Opening the corridor to allow Sikhs access to their most reverential place of worship has been a longstanding request of the Sikhs. This is also reflective of the importance and primacy that Pakistan gives to all its minorities,” he added.
On January 21, Islamabad shared its draft agreement with India and proposed that Pakistan delegation may visit India on March 14 followed by return visit of the Indian delegation to Pakistan. On 6 March 2019, India proposed that Pakistan delegation may visit Attari on March 14.
“Continuing with our spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility and in line with our sincere efforts to de-escalate the situation for regional peace and stability, we decided to agree to the Indian proposal and that is why we are here today to crossover to the Indian side shortly for what is the first of a series of meetings,” Dr Faisal said at the Wagah border.
The Pakistani delegation is being led by Dr Faisal. A session of technical experts of Pakistan and India will also be held at Attari simultaneously.
Experts will discuss the issues relating to the corridor, its construction, road, and other technicalities. The draft for the corridor is expected to be finalised during a visit of the Indian delegation to Pakistan on March 28.