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Kartarpur corridor: Pakistan, India to hold talks in New Delhi today

LAHORE: Pakistan and India will hold talks on the draft agreement of Kartarpur corridor between the two countries in New Delhi today.

Director General South Asia and SAARC Dr Muhammad Faisal will lead the Pakistani delegation, which also comprises members of a technical team that will hold a meeting on the sidelines. The delegation will leave for India via Wagha Border. The experts will discuss issues relating to the corridor, its construction, road, and other technicalities.

The proposal to construct the corridor providing visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims was renewed by Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in August last 2018. Speaking to the media at the Wagah border Dr Faisal said, the dialogue on Kartarpur corridor is a step forward in the right direction in the current situation from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship.

He further said, Pakistan agreed to the Indian proposal of meeting at Attari in-line with sincere efforts to de-escalate the situation for regional peace and stability. "Pakistan is moving forward with the spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility," he said. "The opening of Kartarpur corridor is a longstanding demand of the Sikhs community and Prime Minister Imran Khan's initiative is reflective of the importance that Pakistan gives to all its minorities," Dr Faisal added.

Pakistan has already sent the draft agreement of Kartarpur corridor to India. A return visit by the Indian delegation will be held in Islamabad on March 28. On Wednesday, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan regretted India's decision to not grant visas to Pakistani journalists to cover the Kartarpur meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

The FO spokesperson took to Twitter and said, "More than 30 Indian journalists covered the Kartarpur groundbreaking ceremony in Pakistan last year. They also met PM and were hosted by FM for a dinner during their stay." "Regrettable that India has not given visas to Pakistani journalists for the Kartarpur meeting tomorrow. Hope the #PakKartarpurSpirit and meeting tomorrow will bring a change for the better for people of both countries," he added.

Kartarpur meeting: Pakistan regrets India's decision to not grant visas to journalists Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province holds religious significance for the Sikh community. It is where Baba Guru Nanak settled down after his travels as a missionary. He lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539.

Pakistan will build the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India. In November last year, Prime Minister Imran had laid the foundation stone for the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur District.

Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Indian Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri had attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

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