LAHORE 14th July: The second round of Kartarpur talks between Pakistan and India commenced at Wagah border in Lahore on Sunday.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal, who is also the Director General for South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is leading the Pakistani delegation while New Delhi’s delegation is headed by Indian Foreign Affairs Joint Secretary Anil Malik. Pakistan has also issued visas to Indian journalists to cover the event.
The two sides will discuss the draft agreement for finalising the modalities of the Kartarpur Corridor. A statement issued by the FO said 70 per cent of construction work on the Pakistani side of the Kartarpur Corridor has been completed.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan is fully committed to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
Officials will discuss the progress of the development work on the project on both sides of the border during the high-level moot.
The procedure for the entry of Indian Sikh pilgrims, their currency limit, transportation, medical emergency facilities and duration of stay at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib will be finalised.
The first round of talks between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals was held on March 14 this year at India’s Attari border. It was decided that the second round will take place at Wagah border on April 2 but India had refused to participate in the meeting. However, the second round is now being held on India’s request.
India had earlier pulled out of the talks expressing reservations over the inclusion of Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh in the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee — assigned the task of facilitating the pilgrims — accusing them of being pro-Khalistan activists.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony notified an amended list of committee members on Saturday. The 13 members of the newly notified committee include four from Punjab, three from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, two from Sindh and one from Balochistan.
According to the notification, the chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) will be the convener of the committee. The ETPB joint and additional secretaries of shrines have also been included in the body.
The committee includes Sardar Ravinder Singh, Sardar Andar Jeet Singh, Dr Mampal Singh and Sardar Ameer Singh from Punjab; Sardar Baba Harmeet Singh, Sardar Sarbat Singh and Sardar Satwant Singh from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; Dr Sagarjeet Singh and Sardar Wikash Singh Khalisa from Sindh and Sardar Sagar Singh from Balochistan.