Work on Kartarpur corridor will continue despite fresh tension, says Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday said work on the Kartarpur corridor will continue notwithstanding the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of trade with India. Pakistan’s actions came after the Indian government’s decision to scrap special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

“The Kartarpur initiative will continue,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, according to .

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also reiterated during a weekly press briefing that the initiative will continue irrespective of the new developments. He added that Pakistan respects all religions and would continue the project to help Sikh pilgrims.

New Delhi and Islamabad laid the foundation stone for the project in November last year. The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died in Kartarpur in 1539. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel without visas to the pilgrimage site.

The first meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials was held on March 14 in Attari.

Last month, India and Pakistan had agreed to provide visa-free travel for Indian passport holders and Overseas Citizenship of India card holders for seven days a week. However, India told Pakistan to keep an eye on those who may try to take advantage of the corridor and disrupt the pilgrimage.

“Throughout the year, 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara per day,” the Indian delegation said. “The pilgrims will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot.”