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Kartarpur Corridor Meet Today Even as Pak Ramps Up Pressure With Missile Test, Threat to Close Airspace

Pakistan and India are still discussing the modalities regarding opening of the corridor at Narowal, some 125-km from Lahore, for Indian Sikhs on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12.

News18.com

Updated:August 30, 2019, 11:05 AM IST
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Kartarpur Corridor Meet Today Even as Pak Ramps Up Pressure With Missile Test, Threat to Close Airspace
The project will allow easy access to Sikh pilgrims from India to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Pakistan has said a technical meeting on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor will be held on Friday at the Zero Point, even as the country remains locked in a diplomatic tussle with India over the repeal of Article 370 and the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kartarpur Corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

"A technical meeting on the Kartarpur corridor is set to take place at Zero Point tomorrow (Friday)," Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said while addressing the weekly briefing. "India concurred to Pakistan's proposal and the technical meeting on Kartarpur Sahib corridor is being held on August 30 at Zero Point," he said.

Zero point is the point at which the Indian side of the corridor and the Pakistani side of the corridor will converge. "Pakistan remains committed to completing and inaugurating the Kartarpur Sahib corridor as announced by our prime minister," he added.

Pakistan and India are still discussing the modalities regarding opening of the corridor at Narowal, some 125-km from Lahore, for Indian Sikhs on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12. The corridor will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.

The announcement of a technical meet also came on a day when Pakistan successfully launched surface-to-surface ballistic missile 'Ghaznavi'. The military's media spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor wrote on Twitter, "The ballistic missile is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to 290 kms."

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday closed three aviation routes of Karachi airspace till August 31, leading to reports that the Pakistan Army may conduct a missile test from a flight test range in Balochistan.

The nuclear-capable missile was launched amid Pakistan's efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

Prime Minister Khan has repeatedly raised the threat of a nuclear war in the region as a result of India's decision on Kashmir. "In a nuclear war, no one will win. It will not only wreak havoc in this region, but the entire world will face consequences. It is now up to the international community," he said last week in his address to the nation on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner after it downgraded the diplomatic ties with India in protest to India's decision to end Jammu and Kashmir's special status. Pakistan also suspended its trade with India and stopped the cross-border train and bus services.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

Prime Minister Khan once again raised the nuclear capabilities of the neighbours, saying there are no winners in a nuclear war. Earlier in May, Pakistan conducted a successful training launch of Shaheen-II, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile. In January, Pakistan successfully launched the tactical ballistic missile Nasr as part of the Army Strategic Forces Command training exercise.

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