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Sushma Swaraj Declines Pakistan's Invitation For Kartarpur Corridor Ceremony, To Send 2 Ministers

Thanking Qureshi, Swaraj said Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri will travel to Pakistan instead.

News18.com

Updated:November 25, 2018, 12:01 AM IST
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Sushma Swaraj Declines Pakistan's Invitation For Kartarpur Corridor Ceremony, To Send 2 Ministers
File photos of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
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Islamabad: Citing her election campaign engagement in Telangana on the same day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said she will not be able to visit Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims.

Earlier today, she had been invited by her counterpart Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who also extended the invitation to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Thanking Qureshi, Swaraj said Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri will travel to Pakistan instead.

A long-pending demand of the Sikh community to build a religious corridor linking India's border district of Gurdaspur with a historic gurudwara in Pakistan is set to be fulfilled with both the countries announcing that they would develop the stretch.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the facilities on the Pakistani side on November 28.

"On behalf of Pakistan I have extended an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Capt Amarinder Singh & Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at Kartarpura on Nov 28, 2018," Qureshi tweeted.

Amarinder Singh has invited Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the speaker of the Assembly in Pakistan's Punjab province, to attend a similar ceremony on the Indian side on November 26, according to officials here.

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.

India called off a meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, citing the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and the release of the postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday hoped that the Kartarpur corridor would act as a bridge between the peoples of India and Pakistan that might lead to a better future as he referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall to underline the importance of people-to-people contact.

Pakistan Foreign Office on Friday said the "Kartarpur Spirit can be a step forward in the right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship."

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