Pakistan yet to respond to India’s concerns on Kartarpur project: govt || SNE
By livemint.com .
Apr 05, 2019
India is awaiting clarification on the association of the Khalistan supporters in the Kartarpur committee
The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to open in time to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November
New Delhi: India is awaiting clarifications from Islamabad on the opening up of a land crossing to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, a foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to open in time to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, in November.
Indian Sikh pilgrims have been asking for the opening of the corridor for decades, given that the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwarais the place where Guru Nanak spent the last years of his life.
Last November, the Indian cabinet gave its go-ahead to the project. The ceremony on the Indian side was presided over by vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, while Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan laid the foundation ceremony on the other side of the border.
While India and Pakistan held one round of talks in Attari on 14 March, a second round to be held on 2 April was called off last Friday. There are several points of divergence, including the number of pilgrims that each side aims to accommodate, whether they would travel as individuals or in groups, the number of days the corridor would remain open in a week, and the documents that could be used for travel.
The more pressing matter of concern for India was the inclusion of individuals associated with the Khalistan movement—which was for a separate state carved out of India for Sikhs—in a committee on the Kartarpur Corridor set up by Islamabad. The Pakistani committee included Gopal Singh Chawla, a supporter of the Khalistani movement who is associated with Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
On Thursday, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said: “We are yet to get a response from Pakistan” on the association of the Khalistan supporters in the Kartarpur committee, as well as on the other clarifications sought.
India was also awaiting Pakistan’s response on the construction of facilities for the movement of pilgrims, Kumar said. “As and when Pakistan responds to that offer, the technical level talks will take place,” he added.