New Delhi: India has questioned the intent of Pakistan’s proposal on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims with two-day notice peroid as against the bilateral agreement that requires a seven-day prior notice period.
Indian govt sources said on Saturday, “It is to be noted that Pakistan is trying to create a mirage of goodwill by proposing to resume Kartarpur Corridor on June 29, at a short notice of 2 days.”
The sources explained that as per the bilateral agreement between the two neighbouring countries, the information on Kartarpur corridor reopening should have been shared from the Pakistan side to Indian at least seven days in advance. With this, India would have opened up the registration process to visit Kartarpur Gurudwara well in advance.
The cross border travel through the 4.2 km corridor was temporarily suspended on March 16 this year in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
With Pakistan deciding to reopen the corridor for Sikh pilgrims on Monday on the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the 19th century leader of the Sikh empire, New Delhi will now hold consultation with health authorities and the Home Ministry on the matter.
Sources also highlighted that despite having committed to it in the bilateral agreement, Pakistan has not yet built the bridge on their side across the flood plains of Ravi river. With the advent of monsoon, it would need to be evaluated whether pilgrim movement is possible throught the corridor in a safe and secure manner.
India has also expressed concerns over Pakistan limiting the corridor to Sikh pilgrims. As per the Agreement, the corridor was supposed to be opened for all Indian pilgrims and those holding OCI cards.
Pakistani foreign ministry SM Qureshi tweeted, “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.”
Pakistan says it has invited India to work out necessary Standard Operating procedure or SOPs for reopening of the corridor that links Dera Baba Nanak town in Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Shakargarh tehsil in Narowal district of Pakistan.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan announced the establishment of a direct border-crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak, to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. Kartarpur is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the Ravi river, about 4 km from Dera Baba Nanak, India.