Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said that irrespective of its ties with India, Pakistan’s doors were open to Sikh pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak and other religious sites.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Firdous rejected the rumors that Pakistan had stalled work on the Kartarpur Corridor after straining of relations with India over the Kashmir issue, saying the corridor would be inaugurated in November.
Pakistan, she said, severed its diplomatic ties with India when the latter abrogated Article 370 of its constitution to annex the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir against the wishes of its people and the United Nations resolutions.
Pakistan also discontinued the train service between the two countries, she added.
She said that Nankana Sahib and other cities in Pakistan were sacred for the Sikhs like Makkah and Madina as their holy sites were located there.
It was the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had decided to open the border through the Kartarpur Corridor enabling Sikhs on the Indian side of Punjab to visit the shrine (of Baba Guru Nanak) physically after 72 years as most the them could only see the holy site some kilometers away from the across border through heavy binoculars.
Firdous said Pakistan would inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor as per schedule as terms of reference (ToRs) had been finalized with India.
The ball was in India’s court to decide on opening its side of the corridor and show as to how much it cared for the Sikhs, she added.
Indian authorities continued to impose strict curfew and other restrictions across the valley, preventing Kashmiris from holding demonstrations against the occupation and end of special status for Jammu and Kashmir.