Pakistan, India sign historic Kartarpur agreement amid border & Kashmir tension

KARTARPUR SAHIB, Pakistan: Pakistan and India on Thursday signed the agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur Corridor, a historic and landmark agreement which have not only turned long-awaited dream of Indian Sikh Community to visit the birth place of their Spiritual Leader Baba Guru Nanak into a reality but also occurred when two-arch rivals are almost on the verge of a war over Kashmir issue and unabated border skirmishes.

The agreement was signed at Kartarpur Zero Line at 12:00 pm, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

The Director General South Asia and SAARC at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad Dr Mohammad Faisal represented Pakistan to sign the agreement while the Joint Secretary Indian Home Ministry SCL Das signed the document on India’s behalf.

Talking to media on the occasion, Dr Faisal said that as per the promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the visiting Indian Yatrees (Pilgrims) of all faiths would be provided visa-free entry to Pakistan. He said that Yatrees will be permitted to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib from morning till evening.

Dr Faisal said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 9, and after that, 5,000 Sikh Yatrees could visit the Gurdwara Sahib at US$ 20 fee per head.

The landmark agreement will enable 5,000 Sikh Yatrees from neighboring India to arrive at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through Kartarpur Corridor per day.

The two Countries held three rounds of negotiations to reach a consensus over the Corridor just before the beginning of Celebrations of 550th Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

It hasn’t been a smooth sailing for both Pakistan and India to set aside their differences over their bilateral longstanding issues, and develop an understanding for a religious and humanitarian cause.

Undoubtedly, both the nuclear-armed Countries have been passing through one of their toughest eras in terms of reaching a war-like situation. It all began in February 2019, when a convoy of Indian security personnel was attacked in Pulwama district of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K). India as usual accused Pakistan of being behind the attack, followed by a series of border skirmishes and even Air Forces of both the Countries also engaged themselves in a dog fight on February 27.

Things went more sour when New Delhi removed the autonomous status of IOJ&K on August 5 and imposed an indefinite curfew in the entire valley, leading towards a human crises.

Though Pak-India bilateral diplomatic and trade ties still remain suspended, as well as exchange of fire at the de facto border – Line of Control (LoC) – & terror accusations also continues but at the same time, signing of Kartarpur agreement is of immense significance.

The construction work on the four-kilometer long Kartarpur Corridor began on November 28, 2018 when Prime Minister Imran Khan along with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and dignitaries from India performed its groundbreaking.

The signed agreement on the Opening of Kartarpur Corridor would shortly be made public as talking to newsmen in Islamabad on Wednesday, Dr Faisal said that they would share its clause by clause details with the media.