Pakistan and India discuss details of visa-free pilgrimage corridor

15.07.2019

Officials from Pakistan and India met on Sunday for a second round of talks on a proposed visa-free corridor to allow pilgrims to visit a holy Sikh shrine in Pakistan.

Representatives from the two countries gathered at the Wagha border post near the eastern city of Lahore to thrash out the details of the proposed Kartarpur Corridor. "In my opinion, around 80 per cent and beyond has been agreed upon," foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal, who led the Pakistani delegation, told reporters after the meeting. The spokesman, however, did not share details of the outstanding issues. "We are trying to overcome our differences," Faisal said, describing the project as "a corridor for peace."

The Kartarpur Sahib shrine in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab is one of the holiest in Sikhism. The founder of the religion in the 16th century, Guru Nanak, spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib and died there.

Sikhs live in both countries and often face difficulties in visiting holy shrines due to tensions between Pakistan and India.

Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking for the project on the Pakistani side in November 2018, but tensions between the two sides increased after a suicide bombing in the disputed region of Kashmir in February, slowing the pace of the project.

A meeting about the corridor in March marked the first diplomatic contact between the two countries in the shadow of the escalating tensions. India pulled out of a second meeting scheduled in April.

Pakistan says it is committed to the corridor being operational by the 550th anniversary of the birth of Baba Guru Nanak in November. (dpa)

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