Wednesday, the third round of the meeting for the Kartapur corridor was held between India and Pakistan at Attari where Pakistan is to finalize the agreement of the project.
This corridor is being connected from Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The purpose of this corridor is to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan for the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. According to the agreement, the Sikh community will be able to visit Pakistan without a Visa. They would only require a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib established in 1522.
A 20 member Pakistani delegation crossed the border to India for this meeting in Amritsar. Before crossing over to India the delegation including expressed their hopefulness for the positive outcome of this meeting.
Foreign Office spokesperson and Director General of South Asia and SAARC Mohammad Faisal said, “We are hopeful to give a final shape to the draft agreement of Kartarpur corridor in today’s talks with India. Some 90 percent work on the project has been completed and Pakistan is committed to opening the corridor in November,”
He also mentioned that this decision to open the corridor taken by Pakistan is on the wish of the Sikh community. And Prime Minister Imran Khan took this initiative to facilitate the minority community.
PTI was told by an official that the names of the leaders who will lead the opening ceremony of this corridor will also be finalized in this meeting. The discussion will also include the number of Sikhs who would visit Pakistan on the day of the opening. This discussion was also held on July 14th but India and Pakistan didn’t reach any consensus back then, but the delegations say they are positive this time. Although 80% of the basic terms were agreed in the second-round meeting at Wagah border on 14th. So this third round is being held to resolve and decide the rest of the 20%.
A meeting of technical experts was held on August 30th to sort the technical aspects of the corridor that have been proposed. And after the end of the meeting which was close to two hours, the progress was declared to be good.
This corridor will be the first visa-free corridor that will be upheld between India and Pakistan after independence in 1947. Until now it has been decided that 5,000 Sikhs will be allowed to visit Pakistan each day this year through the corridor.
Both countries will build the corridor on their side of the border. The corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur is being built by Pakistan while India will construct the part from the border to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
A bridge is being constructed on the Zero point by India and has urged Pakistan to do the same on its side to ensure the safety of the pilgrims. In order to address the concerns regarding flooding.
Despite the fact that the relationship between India and Pakistan is going through a crisis right now due to the tension in Kashmir, Pakistan had promised that the Kartarpur corridor agreement will not be affected.