Kartarpur corridor agreement likely to be signed today: Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday said that a historic agreement with India to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor was likely to be signed on Thursday.
The corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with the gurdwara at Kartarpur, just about four km from the international border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Initially, the two sides had agreed that the pact will be signed on Wednesday.
“It is our effort to get the agreement signed tomorrow (on Thursday),” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told reporters.
He said a mechanism had been agreed under which the pilgrims would come in the morning and return in the evening after visiting Gurdawara Darbar Sahib. At least 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site every day. Faisal said that each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee. He said more details of the agreement would be shared after it is signed. India is going ahead in signing the pact though it was strongly opposed to Pakistan’s decision to levy a service charge of USD 20 on each pilgrim.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said a joint secretary-level officer in the Union Home Ministry will meet Pakistan officials at zero point near the site of Kartarpur corridor on Thursday and sign the MoU on India’s behalf.
India and Pakistan planned to open the corridor in early November before the year-long celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism who spent more than 18 years at the Kartarpur. The foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor was laid in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu last November.
Faisal also said that the Indian government tried to drag Pakistan in its domestic politics during the just concluded elections in Haryana and Maharashtra. He once again strongly rejected the Indian Army chief’s remarks about the launchpads targeted by India along the Line of Control. He called upon the P-5 countries to ask India to provide information about the launchpads.
Faisal said Pakistan had requested the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to share the details of the locations of “launchpads” to back their claims. He said Pakistan did not harbour aggressive designs but “our armed forces and the people remain ready to defend the country against any act of aggression.”
Responding to a question, Faisal said Pakistan would fight its case at an appropriate forum if its rights under the Indus Water Treaty were challenged. The spokesperson said Pakistan’s position on festering Kashmir is very clear and unchanged.
“The resolution of this dispute lies in the aspirations of Kashmiri people as per the UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.
He also condemned the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. When asked about Malaysian President Mahathir Mohamed’s stance on the Kashmir issue, Faisal said, “Pakistan is proud of its Malaysian brothers and sisters.” Mahathir had raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly last month, drawing strong reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs. (PTI)

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