Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
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India Reschedules Kartarpur Meet Over Khalistani Presence In Panel, Pak Regrets 'Incomprehensible' Decision

India summoned Pakistan's deputy high commissioner here and conveyed concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor.

PTI Photo

India on Friday said the next round of talks on the Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan, due April 2, would be rescheduled after Islamabad failed to respond to New Delhi's concern over the presence of Khalistani separatists on a panel appointed by Pakistan.  

India said that the next round of talks would be held only after receiving Pakistan's response to the issue.

Pakistan has expressed regrets over India's decision to postpone the meeting.

Earlier, India summoned Pakistan's deputy high commissioner here and conveyed concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor, sources said.

India also asked Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah about his country's stand on on key proposals put forward by New Delhi at the last meeting held in Attari to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, they said.

A Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said it has been conveyed to the Paksitani side that the next meeting on the modalities of the corridor would be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan's response.

The next round of talks were scheduled to be held on April 2 at Wagah border.

In order to take forward the infrastructure development for the corridor in an expeditious manner, India has proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point agreed to at the last meeting, the statement said.

The Indian government remains committed to realising the long pending demand of the Indian pilgrims to visit the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner, it said.

India has asked Pakistan to allow pilgrims to travel on foot, if they wish. It also urged that another 10,000 pilgrims be allowed access on festivals like Baisakhi and Gurupurab.

Pakistan has expressed regret over India's "incomprehensible" decision to postpone the Kartarpur meeting.

"The meeting was to discuss and find consensus on outstanding issues,"  Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Twitter.

 

On Wednesday, Pakistan announced the setting up of a 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC)  on the Kartarpur corridor.

According to reports, India has objected to the presence of Khalistani elements, like Maninder Singh, Tara Singh, Kuljeet Singh, Bisant Singh, Gopal Chawla to oversee the Kartarpur corridor. Chawla is said to be linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.

Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.

Two days later, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.

(With PTI inputs)

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