Kartarpur corridor: India backs out of talks

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News Desk |

As India has backed out from another cross border parlay and decided to postpone the upcoming meeting on Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement condemning the move that a meeting to “discuss and find consensus on outstanding issues” has been delayed.

Dr. Mohammad Faisal, the Foreign Office spokesperson, tweeted on Friday: “Pakistan regrets the Indian decision to postpone the upcoming Kartarpur meeting, jointly agreed by both sides on 14 March 2019.”

The Foreign Office spokesperson regretted that Indian government’s undiplomatic “last-minute postponement” without bringing Pakistan into the loop “especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19” and coined it “incomprehensible”.

The corridor is planned to be opened for Sikh pilgrims this year in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

During the last meeting on March 14 at Attari, both parties had come to an agreement to hold the next meeting at Wagah on April 2, 2019, which was to be preceded by a meeting of technical experts on March 19, at the proposed mid-point to agree to final terms of the alignment of the corridor.

The statement by Indian Ministry of External Affairs a few days prior to the huddle read, “India has shared concerns and sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur Corridor. The next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response”. However, it failed to add what “controversial elements” it was referring to.

Read more: Technical meeting on Kartarpur Corridor: India and Pakistan move towards peace?

Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the ground-breaking of Kartarpur corridor last year on Nov 28. Chief of Army Staff Qamar Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and other government officials along with Indian delegation also attended the ceremony.

In January, Pakistan had shared its draft of Kartarpur Corridor Accord with India and invited its delegation for a visit for negotiating the document, which would govern operations of the corridor meant to provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib (Narowal district). The corridor is planned to be opened for Sikh pilgrims this year in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Read more: New Delhi’s counter-invitation to Kartarpur talks is a “childish” response to…

India and Pakistan are at loggerheads with each other ever since Indian military forces tried to instigate skirmishes in February. They were responded to by the Pakistan Army and Air Force that downed two Indian aircraft and captured an Indian pilot.

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