Kartarpur corridor: Amarinder urges Pak not to back out

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (AFP Photo)

Pakistan latest move to stop all trade through the Attari-Wagha border in Punjab is likely to hit both nations economically. The livelihood of thousands of persons dependent on the everyday flow of trade across the border on either side is now being severely hit. 

Post the Pulwama terror strike, India had exorbitantly hiked customs duty on goods coming from Pakistan which led a dip in trade commodities, including cement, from Pakistan.     

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh today said political concerns should not be allowed to cloud any decision that is detrimental to the interests of the people on both sides. “The stoppage of trade, in particular, will inflict heavy avoidable economic losses for the poor in Pakistan as goods would now have to take the long sea route through Iran or Dubai”, the chief minister said Sunday. 

The trade suspension would also lead to serious loss of jobs and livelihood for thousands of porters, truck, train drivers, staff etc who are deployed as part of the trade infrastructure on both sides of the border, he maintained.

Capt said the ban on trade was incomprehensible, especially given that the decision has been taken on the pretext of some action taken by India with respect to a purely internal matter. He urged Islamabad to revoke the trade suspension in the interest of the people on both sides. Capt reiterated that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and Pakistan should not link it with diplomatic or trade ties between the two nations. The CM called upon the Indian government to also open diplomatic channels to press Pakistan to resume trade ties. 

Capt also expressed concern over reports of a ‘discernible slowdown’ in Pakistan’s activities for the Kartarpur Corridor development. He urged the neighbouring country not to back out from its commitment to this vital project, which was of supreme religious importance to the Sikh community.

The CM statement comes in the backdrop of reports that India was forced to send a reminder to Islamabad to hold meetings to finalise key Kartarpur decisions.

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