Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said “The corridor is a path for dialogue, sitting together and for removing differences and distances between India and Pakistan.” Stating that “there was no pressure on Pakistan to construct the Kartarpur corridor,” FM Qureshi said, “From day one, it was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire that there should be peace in our region.”
“It is his thinking that fine, we have conflicts with India, we have historical conflicts but what is the solution? War is not a solution. Both the countries are nuclear powers and war would be synonymous to suicide. There is no room for war, so then what is the way forward?” Qureshi asserted. “The Kartarpur corridor is an extraordinary effort to remove distances.” “People used to visit Pakistan through Wagah Border, it was a 400 kiolmetre route which we are bringing to four kilometres so distances have been reduced,” he said. “When distances are reduced and visits are frequent then relations will improve,” he added.
“When people-to-people contacts are increased then perceptions change. This region is gripped by poverty and ignorance and we have to bring change,” he said. “Hence, the Kartarpur corridor decision is a change in mindset and thinking which reduces distances and strengthens relationships while asking people to come sit together,” he continued. “Sikh community in Pakistan, India and south Asia is extremely pleased with this decision. They are celebrating like it is Eid,” he added. “The corridor will bring a pleasing change and I believe that wise people live on both sides of the border,” the foreign minister said.
This can only be achieved if there is peace and our eastern and western borders are secure which is why we have been asking New Delhi and Kabul to talk to resolve issues.” “I will not doubt their intentions. I think it is a positive step that Swaraj sent her two ministers.” “There will be no need for passports or visas and people will be granted permits upon arrival after payment of a minimum fee,” FM Qureshi added. Further, he said, “If visitors increase and situation further improves then we will try and make shops and hotels in the area.”
Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday while addressing a press conference thanked Pakistan for opening of Kartarpur Corridor and made it clear that this initiative is not connected with the dialogue process with Pakistan. “For many years the Indian Government had been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” Swaraj said during a press conference in Hyderabad. “The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start but the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor,” she said.
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23 August, 2019