Pakistan, India agree to work faster to complete Kartarpur Corridor

  • “We aim to plant a tree to cast its shadow on our neighbour,” Dr Faisal

LAHORE – Pakistan and India have agreed to work expeditiously to complete operationalization of Kartarpur Crossing – a new visa-free corridor between the most revered gurdwara at Kartarpur and the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak – in order to realize the dreams of over 120 million Sikhs around the world.

The significant understanding came at a meeting between the two sides at Wagah-Attari border on Thursday.

Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provision of the proposed agreement on the corridor.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal who led Pakistani delegation in the talks told reporters that the meeting was held in a very cordial environment. He said it was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah border on the second of next month.

This will be preceded by a meeting of the technical experts on 19th of this month at the proposed zero-point Kartarpur to finalize the alignment.

Earlier, Pakistan and India held talks at Wagah Attari border today, on devising a mechanism for opening of Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh community in both countries.

The talks were aimed at sorting out modalities for opening of the Corridor between Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan and Gurdwara Baba Nanak in India for the 550th Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in December this year.

Dr Mohammed Faisal, who is also the Director General South Asia and SAARC, said Pakistan is continuing with spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility.

Talking to media at Wagah border prior to cross over to Attari, he said the step is in line with Pakistan’s sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace and stability.

He expressed hope that the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan would not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India but in the current vitiated situation it could be a step forward in right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship.

India gives go-ahead to Pakistan for opening of Kartarpur corridor

The spokesperson said that Pakistan agreed to the Indian proposal of meeting at Attari in-line with its sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace and stability.

“We aim to plant a tree to cast its shadow on our neighbour,” he said, adding that the delegation will convey a message to transform war into peace and enmity into friendship.

The spokesperson said the opening of Kartarpur Corridor was a longstanding demand of the Sikhs community and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative is reflective of the importance that Pakistan gives to all its minorities.

He said the corridor project will facilitate the Sikhs, especially from India to visit their religious sites, adding that the project will be completed till November 2019.

Sikh pilgrims will soon be able to travel freely between the two holy sites, about six kilometers away, without visas for the first time since the international border was established in 1947, when India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain.

Kartarpur in Shakar Garh town of Punjab’s Narowal district houses the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, where the founder of Sikh religion, Baba Guru Nanak, lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

The crossing — dubbed as the ‘corridor of peace’ — is a rare sign of cooperation between the two rival South Asian countries.