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India Postpones Kartarpur Corridor Meeting, Objects to Khalistani Separatists on Pak Panel

India Postpones Kartarpur Corridor Meeting, Objects to Khalistani Separatists on Pak Panel

Among the issues highlighted was concern over reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur Corridor.

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

In a statement, the external affairs ministry said it has rescheduled the meeting that was to be held on April 2 between India and Pakistan, to discuss the modalities of opening the Kartarpur Corridor. It said the meeting will now be held after Pakistan gives its response.

India also asked Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah his country's stand 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.

Pakistan described as "incomprehensible" India's decision to reschedule the upcoming meeting.

The Pakistani Cabinet constituted a ten-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the state-run Radio Pakistan reported. However, it did not name the members of the committee.

"Last minute postponement without seeking views from Pakistan and especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19 is incomprehensible," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

The MEA said that 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 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.

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.

first published:March 29, 2019, 16:00 IST