Pakistan, India resume diplomatic talks amid Kashmir tension

LAHORE, Pakistan: Amid heightened tension over Kashmir dispute, Pakistan and India resumed their bilateral talks at the diplomatic level on Wednesday to finalize the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor for the first time since New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status last month, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

It was the third round of talks between Pakistani and Indian diplomatic Officials on Kartarpur Corridor, which occurred at Attari border.

It’s pertinent to mention that the Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between Pakistan and India which will connect the Sikh Shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib located in Indian Punjab and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib located in Kartarpur, a town in Pakistani Punjab’s Narowal district.

Talking to media representatives after the meeting, the Director General for South Asia and SAARC Dr Mohammad Faisal – who led the Pakistani delegation in the talks – said that the negotiations were held in a cordial atmosphere.

Dr Faisal said that both sides have almost agreed to the draft agreement on the operationalization of Kartarpur Corridor except two or three points. He said that most of the obstacles have been overcome and the Indian side will have to demonstrate political flexibility to address the remaining issues.

Dr Faisal – who is also the Spokesperson of Pakistan Foreign Office – said that Pakistan has invited the Indian side for a final meeting on its side of the border to resolve the remaining sticking points.

The Foreign Office Spokesperson said that an agreement has been reached on 5,000 Sikh Yatrees (visitors). He said that Indian authorities handed over a list of 5,000 Sikh Yatrees to us, and we are ready to facilitate even if more than that Sikhs arrive in Pakistan.

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The Director General for South Asia and SAARC voiced the confidence that we are inching closer to the opening of Kartarpur Corridor by November 2019. He said that Pakistan has completed 90 percent work on the Kartarpur corridor and it is committed to open the corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

The bilateral ties between the two nuclear-armed neighboring Countries turned sour after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of its Constitutions on August 5, withdrawing the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the skirmish also continued at the Line of Control (LoC), the border which separates the Kashmir region into two parts – one is administered by Pakistan and the other by India.

Though enraged over India’s move, Pakistan yet exercised maximum restrained at the diplomatic level and granted the consular access to the detained Indian Naval Officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The government of Pakistan also lifted the ban on import of medicines and raw material from India.

Just a day ago, addressing the International Sikh Convention in Lahore, Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out the nuclear option, and also explicitly said that Pakistan won’t initiate a military conflict with India.