Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday said the Kartarpur Corridor initiative was taken solely to fulfill the longstanding wishes of “our Sikh brethren” and criticised the “negative propaganda campaign” against the historic move.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who completed 100 days in office, on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border in Kartarpur in Punjab province.
Khan used the ceremony, also attended by two Union ministers from India, Harsimrat Kaur and Hardeep Singh Puri, along with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, to call for steps to resume bilateral talks, including on the Kashmir issue, receiving a sharp reaction from New Delhi which regretted that he used the pious occasion to make unwarranted references to Kashmir, an integral and inalienable part of India.
Also, on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed that Khan bowled a “googly” to ensure the presence of Indian government at the groundbreaking of the Kartarpur Corridor, which invoked sharp reaction from Kaur and other BJP leaders.
“We are deeply dismayed at the relentless negative propaganda campaign being waged by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan on the ‘Kartarpur Corridor’ Initiative,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
The Kartarpur Corridor, which will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, is expected to be completed within six months.
Pakistan categorically reaffirmed that the initiative to open this corridor was taken solely in deference to the longstanding wishes of “our Sikh brethren” and especially in the wake of the forthcoming 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev. PTI