Pakistan refuses to open Kartarpur Sahib corridor, asks India to resume talks

Foreign Office spokesperson of Pakistan, refused to talk about Kartarpur Sahib corridor and stated that it will not happen until India engages in talks. According to reports, the spokesperson has stated that dialogues are the only way forward for the two countries to resolve issues.

India had severed planned talks with Pakistan in New York after three policemen were abducted and killed brutally in Kashmir’s Shopian. A meeting was to happen between of External affairs Ministers of India and Pakistan at the sidelines of UNGA summit at New York. India had accused Pakistan backed Hizbul Mujahideen of being complicit in killings.

Pakistan had aggravated tensions after it released postage stamps eulogising terrorist Burhan Wani. India had raised these issues in recent UNGA summit. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had made it clear that no talks could be held amidst these terrorist attacks and glorification for terrorists by Pakistan.

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Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located on the banks of river Ravi, about four kilometres from India’s Gurdaspur Dera Baba Nanak temple. There have been demands from the Sikh community to open a visa-free corridor joining two shrines before the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak, to be observed in 2019.

India has always been sceptical about the corridor, as it can be used by Pakistan to promote separatist agendas in Punjab.

Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had brought the topic of the Corridor back after he visited Islamabad to attend Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony. Upon rising heat and backlash from BJP and Akali Dal over Sidhu’s hug to Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa, Sidhu had assured that relations between two countries will improve. He falsely claimed in a conference, that his ‘bonhomie’ with Imran Khan had given Sikh community access to the corridor.

However, claims were refuted subsequently by EAM of India that there was no official protocol initiated from Pakistan to discuss corridor and Sidhu had also received criticism from EAM Sushma Swaraj for ‘messing’ things up regarding the opening of the Corridor.

Sidhu was also accused of ‘hurting Sikh sentiments’ by Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur for making false claims regarding Corridor.

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