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Foreign Office spokesperson lauds ‘positive’ meeting with India on Kartarpur Corridor

March 14 , 2019

An exterior view of the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. Photo: Naveed Ahmed Rathore/SAMAA

The meeting between Pakistan and India on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was very positive and both sides have agreed to work towards opening the corridor soon.

Speaking at the Wagah Border after returning from India, Dr Mohammad Faisal, the Foreign Office spokesperson and director-general of South Asia, said that they have “agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Corridor”.

An 18-member Foreign Office team, headed by Dr Faisal, went to India for talks on the details of the Kartarpur Corridor. Both sides held expert level discussions between technical experts on the alignment and other details of corridor, he said, adding that the next meeting would be on April 2 at the Wagah Border, in Pakistan.

This meeting will be preceded by a technical expert meeting on March 19 at the “zero points”, meaning the site where the corridor will be made, to finalise the alignment.

The meeting went well, he said. There were some issues but I can’t tell you the details yet, he said, adding that the media will be invited to cover the technical meeting as well as the April 2 meeting.

Related: Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot on Friday as a gesture of peace

He said that they are able to move forward because the environment was conducive from both sides. They were very welcoming and it was a positive environment, said Dr Faisal.

The meeting was held in Attari, which is near Amritsar.

Speaking to the media at the Wagah Border before heading to India, Dr Faisal said that the visit was “continuing with our spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility and in line with our sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace and stability”. He said that this was the first in a series of meetings.

“We hope this initiative of the prime minister will not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India, but will be a step forward in the current direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship,” he said.

Related: Pakistan not pleased with India’s decision not to issue visas to journalists to cover the Kartarpur meeting

Pakistan expressed its disappointment on Wednesday at India’s refusal to issue Pakistani journalists visas to cover the event. During the groundbreaking ceremony for the corridor on November 28, 2018, Pakistan granted several Indian journalists visas and the foreign minister hosted a dinner for them.

The corridor is meant to provide Sikh pilgrims access to the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. The visa-free corridor is between the gurdwara in Pakistan and the Indian town of Dera Baba Nanak, which is around six kilometres away.

The corridor is expected to be opened this year, ahead of the celebrations for Guru Baba Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

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