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Pakistan Attempted to Politicise Religious Issue, Says India on Kartarpur Corridor

The MEA said it hopes Pakistan will take all necessary steps to implement their announcements expeditiously.

News18.com

Updated:December 7, 2018, 8:17 AM IST
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Pakistan Attempted to Politicise Religious Issue, Says India on Kartarpur Corridor
Indian Sikh pilgrims visit the shrine of Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan on November 28, 2018. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)
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New Delhi: India has said it expects Pakistan to implement its announcements relating to the Kartarpur corridor project "expeditiously".

"Pakistan has to come true to the announcements they made.... It is important that they implement the announcements expeditiously," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters while replying to questions on the issue.

He said it was unfortunate that Pakistan has attempted to politicize an issue related to the sentiments of the Sikh community.

"I would just like to add that we see the opening of Kartarpur corridor as a fulfilment of long pending demand of the Sikh community. It was unfortunate that Pakistan has attempted to politicize a religious issue related to the sentiments of the Sikh community.

"We hope that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to implement their announcements," the Spokesperson said.

He also suggested that the protocol officer attached to Union Minister Hasimrat Kaur Badal during the ground-breaking ceremony of the corridor in Pakistan was not allowed to accompany her when she visited Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

There was a "problem" of access to the protocol officer, said Kumar, adding it helps to have a protocol officer in hand to assist the minister. "That did not happen," he said refusing to elaborate further.

Union ministers Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri as well as Punjab state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan on November 28.

The corridor will link the Darbar Sahib shrine in Kartarpur in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district in India.

Addressing a gathering after the ceremony, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that his government will create various facilities for the pilgrims including hotels and restaurants.

After the event, a row broke out following Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's remarks that Khan, a former cricketer, bowled a "googly", forcing India to send two ministers to the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor in Pakistan.

The Pakistan PM distanced himself from the remarks by his foreign minister.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj criticised Qureshi for his "googly" comments and said they reflected that he has no respect for Sikh sentiments.
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