Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Photograph:( Facebook )
'With the momentous 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji just three months away, any slowdown in the project will lead to its non-completion in time for the historic event,' said Singh in a statement.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday urged Pakistan not to back out from its commitment to building the Kartarpur corridor, a long-pending demand of Indian Sikhs.
"With the momentous 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji just three months away, any slowdown in the project will lead to its non-completion in time for the historic event," said Singh in a statement.
The Chief Minister's statement comes in the backdrop of reports that India was forced to send a reminder to Islamabad to hold technical level meetings to finalise the key decisions about the Kartarpur corridor.
"Such a move would serve a big blow to the desires and aspirations of the Sikh community, who are hungry for 'darshan' of the 'asthan' of the place where their first Guru had spent many years of his early life," added Singh.
On the issue of stoppage of trade at Attari-Wagah border by Pakistan in the wake of its decision to downgrade diplomatic and trade ties with India, the Chief Minister said, "Political concerns should not be allowed to be clouded by any decision that was detrimental to the interests of the people on both sides."
"The stoppage would, in particular, inflict heavy avoidable economic losses for the poor in Pakistan, as the goods would now have to take the long sea route through Iran or Dubai. 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," he said.
He also urged Islamabad to revoke the trade suspension in the interest of the people on both sides of the border. "India wanted peace, communal harmony, and development on the Indo-Pak border, people on both sides of which had suffered immensely due to the continued violence and hostilities," he said.
Reiterating that Kashmir was an internal matter of India, the Chief Minister said Pakistan should not link it with diplomatic or trade ties between the two nations.
The Punjab Chief Minister also called upon the Indian government to open diplomatic channels to press Pakistan to resume trade ties.
Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a special economic package for the development of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir to create better job opportunities for their youth, he said, "The Centre should also raise additional battalions in the Army, para-military forces and the State Police for all the border states.''