Kartarpur corridor: Indian, Pakistani officials to meet soon as Pak says 35% work on its side of border complete

Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi/ Islamabad Updated: Jan 15, 2019, 11:13 PM(IST)

File photo: Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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A high-level meeting meanwhile took place at the Home Ministry in Delhi on Tuesday. Land acquistion for the corridor on the Indian side of the border was discussed at the meet. 

A high-level meeting to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor took place in the Home Ministry on Tuesday with the key issues being land acquisition and pilgrims' access to the other side. A high-level meet between Indian and Pakistani officials is expected to take place very soon. 

The meeting, which was chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, was also attended by the Punjab chief secretary, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, DG BSF RK Mishra, and officials from the Road and Transport Ministry. The meeting lasted approximately 45 minutes. 

Land acquisition for the corridor on the Indian side was was a key focus area, as was the road network on the Indian side. Bisaria informed the attendees about the progress on the Pakistani side of the corridor which he visited a week ago.

The Home Ministry is the nodal ministry for coordinating with the authorities concerned, including local governments while the Road, Transport and Highways Ministry is the nodal ministry for the building and development of the corridor on the Indian side.

How pilgrims can get across to the Pakistani side with the help of simple procedures was the other key area. The Issues raised during the meeting included biometric records, the online registration of pilgrims, and timings. Sources said it was suggested that the corridor be open only for six hours during the day. It was indicated that as of now, no consensus has been reached with Islamabad on the number of pilgrims to be allowed across a day. 

Indo-Pak officials' meet on the anvil
According to sources in Pakistan, India is likely to propose a formal meeting on the Kartarpur corridor to Pakistan soon. The meeting is expected to take place between the third week of January and the first week of February. The sources said Pakistan will accept the proposal and invite for the meeting, as and when proposed.

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, who visited Kartapar Sahib Gurudwara recently, had said "35% of work on the corridor on the Pakistani side has been completed." Qadri had added that work on the corridor on the Pakistani side will be completed before Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary.

Punjab CM writes to Centre on Kartarpur corridor
Meanwhile, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the Kartarpur corridor and requested him to waive the mandatory condition that devotees will need passports to cross over. This, he said in the letter, will enable "khulle darshan deedar” of the gurudwara where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life. He suggested to the Centre that any valid government document such as an Aadhar card be used for identification at the border. The issue of passport-free access was reiterated by the Punjab chief secretary during the meet on the Kartarpur corridor at the home ministry.

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