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Kartarpur talks postponed as Pakistan's Khalistan support raises concerns 

Kartarpur gurudwara. (Picture courtesy: Pakistan Foreign Ministry) Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 29, 2019, 03.13 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

The second round of India-Pakistan talks to decide on the modalities of Kartarpur corridor has been postponed after New Delhi raised the concern of Islamabad appointing Khalistani elements in the 10-member committee for managing the corridor.

The committee includes a known Khalistani, Gopal Singh Chawla, who is also believed to be a close aide of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Other members of the committee include Bison Singh, Kuljit Singh, Tara Singh and Maninder Singh.

The committee, constituted by Pakistan's cabinet would facilitate Sikh pilgrims after the opening of Kartarpur corridor. The second round was supposed to happen on April 2 in Wagah, Pakistan.

New Delhi has also asked Pakistan to clarify its stand on the proposal it had put forward during the first meeting which took place on March 14 in Attari, India.

A release by the Ministry of External Affairs said that India has "shared concerns and sought clarifications on reports of controversial elements being appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur corridor."

"It has been conveyed that the next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response," the release added.  

India had called Pakistan's deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah on Friday morning and informed about its concern, especially on the security front.

Sources told WION, "It has already been conveyed to Pakistan that Kartarpur facility should not be misused for anti-India activities and we want substantive outcomes from the meet and not just for the sake of optics."

Explaining further sources said, "India has been strongly emphasising the need for foolproof security of pilgrims on Pakistan's soil and demanding commitment from Pakistan to insulate them from any anti-India propaganda or activity during their visit to the Gurudwara."

Pakistan has "regretted" the decision by New Delhi and called it "incomprehensible" but has not reacted on the issue of Khalistanis being appointed by the Imran Khan government in the Kartarpur committee.

India has proposed another meeting of technical level experts to take place in mid-April to resolve the outstanding issues on infrastructure development, especially on the alignment of the corridor. 

The first round of talks happened on March 14 in Attari, India during which New Delhi had proposed that the corridor should be open to Indian citizens and Indian diaspora with 5,000 people allowed every day. Islamabad said that they can allow only 700 people that too only Indian citizens on designated days with a paid permit.

New Delhi formally proposed Islamabad for the second India-Pak technical level meeting on Kartarpur corridor on April 15-16 to discuss all outstanding matters including those pertaining to hydrology. 

The first-India Pak technical level meet took place on March 19 at the zero-point during which both sides did a survey of the site and discussed the alignment of the corridor. 

Story highlights

New Delhi has also asked Pakistan to clarify its stand on the proposal it had put forward during the first meeting which took place on March 14 in Attari, India.