NEW DELHI/ CHANDIGARH : Pakistan on Saturday said that it is ready to open the Kartarpur Corridor from June 29, three months after it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, even as India questioned the proposal.
India has said that it will take any decision only after consultation with health authorities and other stakeholders. The announcement about Pakistan’s intention to open the Corridor was made by Pakistan Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
"As places of worship open up across the world, Pakistan prepares to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for all Sikh pilgrims, conveying to the Indian side our readiness to reopen the Corridor on 29 June 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh," he tweeted.
As places of worship open up across the world, Pakistan prepares to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for all Sikh pilgrims, conveying to the Indian side our readiness to reopen the corridor on 29 June 2020, the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh.— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) June 27, 2020
However, India expressed concerns over the timing and motive of this announcement. Sources said that Pakistan is trying to create a ‘mirage of goodwill’ with the proposal to resume pilgrimage by giving only a two-day notice. The bilateral agreement between both countries on the Corridor states that the information has to be shared by both sides at least seven days before the date of travel.
"Cross border movement has been suspended temporarily to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus. Any decision on the issue will be taken in consultation with health authorities and other stakeholders," sources said.
Also, sources said that Pakistan is yet to build a bridge across the Ravi river despite agreeing for its construction in the bilateral agreement. "With the advent of monsoon, it would need to be evaluated whether pilgrim movement is possible through the Corridor in a safe and secure manner," said an official.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC), President Gobind Singh Longowal said, "As the union government has already opened all religion places across the country it should also make an effort to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor."
The Kartarpur Corridor has been closed since March 16 as a precautionary measure to contain and control the spread of the COVID-19 disease.