Kartarpur Corridor: Sushma Swaraj rejects Pakistan's invitation to attend ground-breaking ceremony of route to shrine

Islamabad: Pakistan has invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to visit the country to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor next week, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday.

A long-pending demand of the Sikh community to build a religious corridor linking India's border district of Gurdaspur with a historic gurudwara in Pakistan may finally be fulfilled with both the countries announcing that stretches would be developed in their respective areas.

Qureshi tweeted on Saturday:

In a letter to Qureshi, Swaraj thanked him for the invite and said she was unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments, including an election campaign in Telangana, and that India will be represented at the ceremony by Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri.

Swaraj also hoped that the government of Pakistan will expedite the construction of the corridor in order to ensure that "our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible."

Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the facilities on the Pakistani side on 28 November.

The move to open the corridor could break the chill in bilateral ties, which had taken a nose-dive in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.

India called off a meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, citing the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and the release of the postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday hoped that the Kartarpur corridor would act as a bridge between the peoples of India and Pakistan that might lead to a better future as he referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall to underline the importance of people-to-people contact.

Pakistan's foreign office on Friday said the "Kartarpur Spirit can be a step forward in the right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship."

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Nov 25, 2018 15:11:04 IST

Also See