Pakistan has indicated its readiness to open the Kartarpur corridor on June 29.
India has questioned its motive by saying that a two-day notice period to open the corridor goes against the bilateral agreement that provides for the seven-day notice period.
June 29 is the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh—a prominent 18th-century leader of the Sikh empire-- Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Saturday. The corridor, the reopening of which garnered much attention in the subcontinent, was temporarily closed for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening of the Kartarpur corridor that links the Dera Baba Sahib Gurudwara in Gurdaspur in India and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, was a historic initiative by the two nations in November. Indian government sources said, “Bilateral agreement provides for information to be shared by India with Pakistan side at least seven days before the date of travel. This would need India to open up the registration process well in advance.”
Pakistani foreign minister S.M. Qureshi had tweeted: “As places of worship open up across the world, Pakistan prepares to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for all Sikh pilgrims, conveying to the Indian side our readiness to reopen the corridor on 29 June 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.”
As places of worship open up across the world, Pakistan prepares to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for all Sikh pilgrims, conveying to the Indian side our readiness to reopen the corridor on 29 June 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) June 27, 2020
Cross-border travel, too, had been suspended on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The Home Ministry said New Delhi will take “further view in consultation with health authorities and other stakeholders concerned.”
According to sources quoted in DNA, “Pakistan has not built the bridge on their side across the flood plains of Ravi river despite having committed to it in the bilateral agreement. With the advent of monsoon, it would need to be evaluated whether pilgrim movement is possible throughout the corridor safely and securely”.
India expressed concerns over Pakistan limiting the corridor to Sikh pilgrims. Under the bilateral agreement, it is supposed to be for all Indian pilgrims and those holding OCI cards.
The relations between India and Pakistan nosedived after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019, and bifurcated it. Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India and expelled the Indian High Commissioner, a PTI report reads.