Kartarpur talks: Pakistani delegation departs for India


LAHORE (DNA) – Pakistani delegation on Thursday has left for India via Wagha Border to hold talks for drafting an agreement on Kartarpur Corridor at Attari near Amritsar.Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal is heading the delegation from Pakistani side including members of a technical team.He spoke to the media at Wagha Border where he asserted the significance of defusing tensions between nuclear-armed rivals for peace and stability of the entire South Asian region.

He expressed hope for a positive response from the Indian side following the talks while emphasizing that Pakistan has paid a particular attention to rights of minorities.

“We aim to plant a tree whose shadow could be casted over neighbours,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan regretted that India had not issued visas to Pakistani journalists to cover the round of talks between Indian and Pakistani delegations on Kartarpur Corridor.

This will be their first meeting today at foreign-ministerial level to finalize the modalities and discuss the draft agreement of the Kartarpur corridor to enable Indian pilgrims to pray at the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.

Dr Faisal had reminded India that more than 30 Indian journalists covered the Kartarpur ground breaking ceremony in Pakistan last year. They also met Prime Minister Imran Khan and were hosted by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for a dinner during their stay in Pakistan.

Later, an Indian delegation will also arrive in Pakistan on March 28 for further deliberations.

New Delhi and Islamabad had last week confirmed that talks are on schedule despite the India Pakistan tensions.

However, in its recent wave of aggression, India refuted to accept it as a resumption of dialogue between two South Asian neighbours.

The talks were initially scheduled to be held in New Delhi but later the venue was changed by New Delhi to repel a notion that the talks were resumption of talks.

In November 2018, Pakistan offered India the building of the corridor for Sikh pilgrims for visiting the Gurudwara at Kartarpur where the founder of Sikhism – Guru Nanak lived for 18 years. The 2019 year marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Later, the building of a passenger terminal building (PTB complex) at the cost of Rs190 crores was approved, which will be able to handle immigration and customs clearance facilities for5000 pilgrims every day.

The corridor can pave a way for “facilitating and fortifying” people-to-people bonds of the two countries.

Earlier in a historical event on November 28, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur Corridor which was also attended by Indian ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri on the invitation of the Pakistan government.

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other government officials.

On March 7, PM Imran Khan had directed the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) to ensure timely completion of the project on Pakistani side of the border.