WION New Delhi
Sep 12, 2019, 09.21 PM
India has asked Pakistan to be more flexible on the Kartarpur corridor in the backdrop of the third round of official talks which took place at Attari on September 4 and ended in a deadlock.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "We had hoped that all pending issues will be resolved (in the meet), however, we realised Pakistan was quite inflexible during the talks."
"We have urged Pakistan to show some flexibility. It is involving the sensitivity of people. It is a long-pending demand and we have urged Pakistan to show flexibility on this matter so that we can proceed without hindrance in the run-up to the celebration of 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji," the foreign ministry spokesman added.
During the talks earlier this month, Pakistan had insisted on charging $20 per pilgrim for the visit which was opposed by India for being against the spirit of the smooth functioning of the corridor.
The Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said earlier on Thursday, "Please note that this proposed fee will not be charged for entering the premises of Gurdwara Kartarpur Saheb. This fee will only be charged in order to supplement the enormous expenditure which the government of Pakistan is undertaking to complete and maintain the Kartarpur Saheb Corridor and to provide services to the pilgrims. The fee will not even cover a fraction of the cost that our government is bearing in order to facilitate the pilgrims."
Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has written to PM Modi and sought his intervention to make sure Pakistan withdraws the $20 service charge proposal.
During the September 4 meet, Islamabad did not agree to 10,000 pilgrim figure proposed by New Delhi on special occasion due to infrastructure issues. Pakistan also did not agree on the presence of Indian consular persons in the Gurudwara to facilitate the pilgrimage.
Both sides have said they are committed to the project which was agreed in November 2018. The corridor is expected to be open by November 2019 during the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The Gurudwara is located in Pakistan's Narowal district, about four km from Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has written to PM Modi and sought his intervention to make sure Pakistan withdraws the $20 service charge proposal.