ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said no decision has been taken so far on the opening of the Sharda temple corridor for Hindu pilgrims from India in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and asserted that there should be "a positive atmosphere" for taking such steps.
Earlier in the week, quoting sources in Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Express Tribune reported that the Pakistani government has approved a proposal to establish a corridor that will allow Hindu pilgrims from India to visit the ancient Hindu temple and cultural site.
Addressing a weekly press briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal rejected the report, saying, "To the best of my knowledge, no decision has been taken so far (on opening the Sharda temple corridor)."
"A positive environment is required to move forward on all such issues," he added.
In its report, the Express Tribune had also quoted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the National Assembly (MNA) Ramesh Kumar as saying, "Pakistan has decided to open the Sharda temple. Work on the project will start from the current year after which Hindus in Pakistan will also be able to visit the site."
Established in 237 B.C. during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, the 5,000-year-old Sharada Peeth is an abandoned temple and ancient centre of learning dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning. Between the 6th and 12th centuries C.E, Sharada Peeth was one of the foremost temple universities of the Indian subcontinent.
It is also one of the three famous holy sites for Kashmiri Pandits, the other two being the Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag and the Amarnath temple.
Kashmiri Pandit organisations have been demanding opening of the Sharda Peeth corridor for many years.