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Kartarpur corridor talks: India asks Pakistan for visa-free access for 5,000 pilgrims per day

India and Pakistan last year agreed to open a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 14, 2019 6:55:38 pm
Pakistan delegation leaves for India to discuss Kartarpur draft agreement “Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” said the statement.

During the discussion over the Kartarpur Sikh corridor, India on Thursday asked Pakistan to give visa-free access to at least 5000 pilgrims per day. A joint statement issued after the talks said both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the project and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartapur Sahib Corridor (KSC).

“Our side pressed on the need for arranging the visit of at least 5000 pilgrims per day, to begin with, in phase 1 of the project. This should include not only Indian nationals but people of Indian origin as well,” ANI quoted MHA official SCL Das as saying.

Keeping in mind the special days including Gurupurab and Baisakhi when the corridor would receive a massive footfall, Das added, “We’ve strongly urged them to allow, bcos ppl from all over the country&world will be coming for all 7 days throughout the yr without any break, provide for a much higher size of ‘jathhas’ of visiting pilgrims by another 10,000 on special days like Gurupurab, Baisakhi.

”The government, however, reiterated that the talks over the Kartarpur corridor are not an indication of resumption of dialogues with Pakistan.”This doesn’t mean the resumption of any bilateral dialogues with Pakistan. Our position on the dialogue is very clear. Today what we had was a meeting on the issue of the Kartarpur corridor, with an objective that pilgrims can have easy access to Kartarpur Sahib,” MEA official Deepak Mittal was quoted as saying by ANI.

Explained | How India and Pakistan came on board

“Our expectations were made clear to Pakistan side that we would like them not to allow any miscreant. We would not like them to allow any kind of activity which would be against the spirit with which pilgrims would be going to Kartarpur Gurudwara,” added Mittal.

Delegations from India and Pakistan held the first meeting to discuss the modalities and the draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor. The meeting at Attari was done in a cordial environment, according to the joint statement.

“Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” the statement said.

It further added, “Both sides also held expert-level discussions between the technical experts on the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor. It was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah on 2 April 2019.

India and Pakistan last year agreed to open a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The meeting comes amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan since the Pulwama terrorist attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.

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