Pakistan on Saturday agreed in principle to build a bridge across zero line of the Kartarpur corridor to provide all-weather connectivity and allow 5000 Sikh pilgrims to travel daily once the corridor becomes operational, a top Indian official said after the second round of talks at Wagah.
“Pakistan agreed to build a bridge across zero line over Ravi river creek….. We conveyed concerns regarding possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak and adjoining areas in India as result of earth filled embankment road or causeway proposed to be built by Pakistan on their side and we said it shouldn’t be built in the interim,” joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs SCL Das who led the Indian delegation told reporters after the meeting.
“Pakistan also agreed for visa free access for pilgrims and also entertained demand of India that number of pilgrims should be increased to 5000 a day,” Das said.
“The pilgrims having Indian passports and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders will be allowed to visit Kartarpur sahib seven days throughout the year,” he said. Both sides agreed to maintain a channel of communication and work toward early finalisation of the agreement on the modalities.
India also handed over a dossier to Pakistan to highlight its concern over activities of Khalistani elements. The Indian delegation also handed over a copy of its notification banning pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs For Justice.
The Pakistani delegation was led by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesman of ministry of foreign affairs.
In a media statement, Das said India’s technical team would meet again to ensure a seamless connectivity for Kartarpur corridor. If required, the two delegation could meet again in India for concluding the agreement.
In a media statement, Das said India’s technical team would meet again to ensure a seamless connectivity for Kartarpur corridor. If required, the two delegations could meet again in India for concluding the agreement.
India also reiterated raising the number of pilgrims to 10000 including Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) on special occasions. Das said the Pakistani delegation has assured that the demand could be considered.
India also sought consular presence in Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to be able to provide assistance to the pilgrims, if required.
As Pakistan will take longer time to build a bridge, India has offered to make interim arrangements for making the corridor operational in November this year, given the historic importance of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, the statement said.
Jul 14, 2019 16:01 IST