Shah Mahmood Qureshi
KARTARPUR SAHIB CORRIDOR :
The government on Saturday, rubbished Pakistan’s “readiness” to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor for Indian Sikhs, by calling it an attempt to create “a mirage of goodwill”.
Taking to Twitter, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday, announced:”As places of worship open up across the world, Pakistan prepares to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for all Sikh pilgrims, conveying to the Indian side our readiness to reopen the corridor on 29 June 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.”
The corridor was temporarily closed on March 16 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China’s Wuhan city.
Official sources in New Delhi said that Pakistan is trying to “create a mirage of goodwill” by proposing to reopen Kartarpur Corridor on June 29, at the short notice of two days, while bilateral agreement provides for information to be shared by India with Pakistan side at least seven days before the date of travel.
This would need India to open up the registration process well in advance, the sources said.
Besides, Pakistan has not built the bridge on their side across the flood plains of the Ravi river despite having committed to it in the bilateral agreement.
With the advent of monsoon, the sources said, it would need to be evaluated whether pilgrim movement is possible through the corridor in a safe and secure manner.
Official sources said cross border travel has been temporarily suspended as part of measures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.
“Further view would be taken in consultation with health authorities and other stakeholders concerned,” an official said.
The 4.2 km corridor links Dera Baba Nanak town in Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Shakargarh tehsil in Narowal district of Pakistan.
India and Pakistan in October 2019 signed an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian pilgrims a visa-free visit to the holy gurdwara, believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century, and located some 4 km inside Pakistan.