Concern looms large over status of Kartarpur corridor

In the wake of the Centre scrapping Article 370, concern loom large over Islamabad’s response on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. PTI file photo

In the wake of the Centre scrapping Article 370, concern loom large over Islamabad’s response on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.

Pakistan's response will determine whether the historic corridor linking the revered Sikh shrine in the neighbouring country to India will meet the November deadline.

The religious circuit link is seen as a peace initiative of sorts after Imran Khan took over as the prime minister of Pakistan.

Recent media reports from Pakistan suggest that the country has completed a major part of the project.

However, certain politicians in Punjab are apprehensive of Pakistan’s move in the aftermath of the abrogation of the special status to J&K and scrapping of Article 370.

Barring the Akali Dal (SAD), all prominent parties in Punjab, including the Congress have condemned Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the decision on J&K.

On Tuesday in the Lok Sabha, SAD president and MP Sukhbir Badal spoke in favour of the bill while terming the decision as bold. A few weeks ago, Sukhbir had cited impediments being put up by Pakistan.

The passenger terminal on the Indian side is expected to be completed by October this year. Badal has accused Pakistan of trying to delay the project.

He had alleged Pakistan of backing off from its commitments on the project.

“It is unfortunate that the Pakistan government was indulging in doublespeak. Pakistan is mouthing platitudes about the work it is taking up to make the Kartarpur Corridor a reality, whereas the reality is different,” he had said.

Pakistan has put a cap on number of devotees to 700 per day. Entry fee and permit costs have been proposed by Pakistan for pilgrims at Rs 1,600 per person on normal days and Rs 8,000 per person on special days.

Pakistan also proposes to restrict this facility to only Indian nationals and People of Indian Origin (NRIs) cannot access it.

Nearly 50 acre of land had been acquired for the project which is worth Rs 290 crore. The Kartarpur Sahib Sikh shrine was the place where Sikh Guru Nanak Dev spent his last 18-years of life.

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