Pakistan says planning to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as per schedule

Pakistan on Thursday said that it was planning to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as per schedule. The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between India and Pakistan to connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Pakistan). There were doubts that recent strains between New Delhi and Islamabad following the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir may delay the ongoing discussions on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. However, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal today said: We are planning to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as per schedule. Both the countries are in the process of finalising the modalities for operationalisation of the proposed corridor. Responding to a question on what is the update on technical and delegation-level talks between Pakistan and India, Faisal said: We are hopeful that the meetings take place soon so that agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor may be finalised, at the earliest. Last month, the delegations from both the countries met for the second round of talks in which they discussed the modalities and draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. During the talks, New Delhi urged Islamabad to take into consideration the sentiments of the pilgrims to have smooth, easy, unrestricted access throughout the year to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. India also made a series of requests that includes permission for 5,000 pilgrims to visit the shrine every day and 10,000 on special occasions, no restrictions on the pilgrims in terms of their faith, and Persons of Indian Origin holding OCI cards also be allowed to visit the shrine. In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs recently said that India has made significant progress to build a state of art infrastructure including passenger terminal on the Indian side that can handle over 15000 pilgrims in a day. This is targeted to be completed by 31 October 2019, it added.