Kartarpur corridor long standing demand of Sikhs, unfortunate Pak tried to politicise religious issue: India

File photo: Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 06, 2018, 05.15 PM (IST)

India's ministry of external affairs(MEA) said today that India's protocol officers were denied entry for the Kartarpur ceremony.

"We see it as the fulfilment of the long-standing demand of the Sikh community. It is unfortunate that Pakistan attempted to politicised a religious issue," MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

"We hope Pakistan will fulfil all its announcements in regards to the Kartarpur corridor," the spokesman added.

Pakistan had earlier criticised the "negative propaganda campaign" following the Kartarpur ceremony which was attended by PM Imran Khan and two Indian ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Harsimrat Kaur including cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu who lauded Imran's effort in opening the corridor. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border in Kartarpur in Punjab province.

During his speech, PM Imran Khan raised the Kashmir issue declaring that it could be settled with "political will". The Pakistan foreign office later said it was "dismayed" by "negative propaganda by a section of the Indian media against Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor initiative".

The corridor seeks to connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district. Indian pilgrims will be able to enjoy visa-free entry into the gurdwara.

PM Imran Khan added that "friendship" was the only alternative between India and Pakistan. "We must bury the past," the Pakistan prime minister had said during the ceremony which was attended by several Indian Sikhs.

"Both our countries have atomic weapons. There can't be war... what alternative is there but friendship?"

"If India takes one step, we will take two," he added.

The facilities along the Kartarpur corridor for pilgrims is due to be completed in November next year.