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Pakistan, India Considering Future Steps to 'Narrow the Gap', Says Foreign Office

During cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had hinted at temporary opening of Kartarpur border on the occasion of Guru Nanak's birth anniversary.

PTI

Updated:August 30, 2018, 9:02 PM IST
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Pakistan, India Considering Future Steps to 'Narrow the Gap', Says Foreign Office
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Islamabad: Encouraged by the “recent overtures”, Pakistan and India are considering some future steps, including opening the Kartarpur border for Sikh pilgrims, to “narrow the gap” between the two neighbours, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“In the wake of recent overtures by both Pakistan and India to lessen the ever-widening gulf between the two neighbours, some future steps are under consideration,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said, without sharing the details. "I will share details with you, in due course," he said at the weekly media briefing here.

"We are making efforts to narrow the gap between Pakistan and India. The Kartarpur Corridor can be one of the moves in this direction," he added.

Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district.

During cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had hinted at temporary opening of Kartarpur border on the occasion of Guru Nanak's birth anniversary.

The 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, who breathed his last in Kartarpur, is being observed in November 2019.

Faisal said India-Pakistan relations were a "complex conundrum." "There are no easy solutions to the difficult problems facing both the countries. Any move for peace will definitely ensure tranquility on the Line of Control and International Border and resolution of all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," he said.

He said the "road (to peace) would be difficult, but I can assure you that we, both India and Pakistan, have to take this journey."

The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.

The sentencing of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by a Pakistani military court in April over espionage charges last year further deteriorated the bilateral relations.

To a question about "friendly countries" continuously asking Pakistan to become part of the Chabahar project despite Indian investments, Faisal said that Chabahar and Gwadar were both complementary projects. "We are considering all the aspects and we want to move forward together. The presence of India (in Chabahar project) has nothing to do with Pakistan and benefit us," he said.

Faisal also said that the informal session of the SAARC Council of Ministers take place every year on the sidelines of the UNGA Session in New York and "this year too the Informal Session will be held”.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation at the 73rd UN General Assembly session while foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will head the Pakistani delegation. Earlier Pakistani media reports had said the two leaders may meet on the sidelines of the UNGA session.
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