Kartarpur Gurudwara land in Pakistan encroached, India demands early restoration

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India and Pakistan previous year agreed to open a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated last month, after the Pakistani military shot down two Indian warplanes in the disputed region of Kashmir, responding to an earlier airstrike by Indian aircraft against what New Delhi said was a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad group, considered terrorists by India and located on the Pakistani soil across the so-called Line of Control, separating India- and Pakistan- controlled areas of Kashmir.

"Pakistan has lived up to its old reputation of making false promises, making tall claims and delivering nothing".

"Lands owned by the gurdwara have been surreptitiously usurped by the government of Pakistan in the name of developing the corridor".

Despite India's offer in executing long-lasting and comprehensive facilities at Indo-Pak border at the cost of Rs 190 crores, Pakistan restricted the duration of MoU on Kartarpur to two years, said MHA. India had on Thursday sought visa-free access for 5,000 pilgrims per day to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan during a meeting between officials of the two countries.

"Against the hype created by the Pakistan government and the Pakistan media, its actual offer during the talks turned out to be farcical and mere tokenism". Singh said that Pakistan's demand that Indian pilgrims should carry their passports defeats the goal of a special corridor.

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In a "cordial environment", Pakistan and India Thursday agreed to work expeditiously on opening of Kartarpur Corridor, aimed at facilitating Sikh pilgrims to visit their holy sites on both sides of the border.

"India has approved state of the art passenger terminal building to handle 5,000 pilgrims daily, 15,000 on special occasions".

Pakistan has also asked India to refused movement on foot by the pilgrims and the travel will comprise of only in groups of 15 people.

Despite having assured visa-free access to the corridor, Pakistan through back door introduced the need for issue of a special permit for the pilgrims at an "outrageous" fee which defeats the goal.

"Pakistan is oblivious to the fact that Guru Nanak Dev holds universal appeal among the people here and overseas". India hopes that the special border crossing for pilgrims will open before Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary in November 2019. It is high time that the Government of India monitor and analyze the developments and not fall into the traps laid by the scheming Pakistan administration.

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