Kartarpur corridor project to continue: Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 8 (IANS) The cross-border Kartarpur Corridor project will continue as scheduled, Pakistan said on Thursday, a day after it expelled the Indian envoy and announced other retaliatory measures after India revoked Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in his briefing: "The Kartarpur Corridor project will continue. Pakistan respects all religions and it will go ahead with the project."

"India and Pakistan had agreed to construct the corridor to give Sikh pilgrims from India easy access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which is located in Narowal's Kartarpur.

"The present gurdwara is built on the site where Guru Nanak died on September 22, 1539. On November 28, 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation for the Kartarpur Corridor," he said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson's remarks come as Pakistan on Thursday announced permanent suspension of the cross-border Samjhauta Express, and a day after expelling the Indian High Commissioner and announcing that it was suspending bilateral trade with India following the abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Kartarpur Corridor is set to be thrown open in November to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, who spent his final days there.

Last month, a special Jatha of over 500 Indian Sikh pilgrims was given visas by Pakistan to visit Nankana Sahib for kick-starting the 550th birth anniversary celebrations.

The gurdwara, located on the bank of river Ravi in Pakistan, is about 4 km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district, and about 120 km northeast of Lahore. Guru Nanak had lived there for 18 years until breathing his last in 1539.

--IANS

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