External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj stated that the Government of Pakistan has so far neither agreed to include visits to Kartarpur Sahib by Indian pilgrims under bilateral protocol nor has sent any official communication for establishing the corridor.
Writing to Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Swaraj said, “Dear I received your letter of 13 September 2018 regarding facilitating visits of the Indian pilgrims, including through a corridor, to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib located in Pakistan. The Government has been taking up the matter with Pakistan. However, Pakistan has so far neither agreed to include visits to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib by the Indian pilgrims under the Bilateral Protocol on visits to religious shrines of 1974 nor has it sent any official communication for establishing a corridor.”
In the letter dated September 15, Swaraj also informed that over many years, Pakistan authorities have only allowed a limited number of visits of the Indian pilgrims to the Gurudwara along with the visit to other shrines in Pakistan.
Further, the EAM also assured that “government remains seized of the matter and will continue to take up the matter with Pakistan.”
Swaraj’s statement, however, has punctured Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s claims, who on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak said that Pakistan will open the corridor of Kartarpur Sahib.
While addressing the media on Tuesday, Sidhu said, “I had written in my letter to EAM that ‘kindly send a formal request from MEA to Govt of Pak requesting an early agreement & opening of the Kartarpur passage after current monsoon season.”
“We had a detailed discussion during the meeting, explained to her (EAM) about the necessity of opening of the Kartarpur corridor. A formal request should go from India’s side. EAM said to me, ‘the draft is being prepared & I will write a letter”
We had a detailed discussion during the meeting, explained to her(EAM) about the necessity of opening of the Kartarpur corridor.A formal request should go from India’s side. EAM said to me, ‘the draft is being prepared & I will write a letter.’ : Punjab Minister Navjot S Sidhu pic.twitter.com/cECcCphTPp
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2018
Earlier on Monday, Minister of State for External Affair, General (Retd.) VK Singh also stated that India has not received any proposal from Pakistan to open the Kartarpur route between the two countries.
The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur, Punjab. If opened, it will allow Sikh pilgrims a direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan where Guru Nanak died in 1539.
(With ANI Inputs)