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Officials from Pak, India to discuss modalities of Kartarpur corridor

Officials from Pakistan and India will meet in Wagah on
Sunday to discuss the draft agreement for finalising the modalities of the
Kartarpur corridor and related technical issues.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s
Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate
visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a
permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith
founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The Foreign Office has said Pakistan was committed to
expedite progress on the matter to ensure that the corridor is operationalised
in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in
November 2019.

Sources in New Delhi said that key issues such as
connectivity at Zero Point and the number of pilgrims to be allowed through the
Kartarpur corridor will be discussed during the meeting on Sunday.

They said India will also flag its concerns over the
security aspect. India had earlier conveyed its strong concerns to Pakistan
over the presence of a leading Khalistani separatist in a committee appointed
by Islamabad on the project.

Matters related to the modalities of the corridor, who can
use the corridor and its facilities, will be discussed during the meeting.

The first meeting of officials of Pakistan and India to
finalise the modalities of the landmark corridor was held in Attari in the
shadow of escalating bilateral tensions in March following the Pulwama terror
attack by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.

Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the
border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting
place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in
India’s Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district
across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister
Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the
Kartarpur Corridor in Gurdaspur district.

Two days later, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan laid
the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125-km from Lahore.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has
earmarked Rs 100 crore in the federal budget 2019-20 for the development of the
corridor.

The funds will be used for land acquisition and development
of infrastructure of Kartarpur under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP)
for the next financial year 2019-20.

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