Pakistan on Thursaday said it will send a delegation to India next month to discuss and finalise draft agreement for setting up a corridor to facilitate visit of Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara.
India and Pakistan agreed to open up 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. Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, the first Gurdwara, was established by Guru Nanak Dev in 1522, where he is said to have died.
The corridor will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal announced on social media that Pakistan also proposed a return visit by Indian delegation on March 28. "In a spirit of constructive engagement, Pakistan has proposed to India that the Pakistan delegation may visit India on March 13 followed by the return visit of the Indian delegation to Pakistan on March 28 to finalise the draft agreement for the Kartarpur corridor," he tweeted. Faisal further said that "we look forward to positive reciprocity from India."
Last month, the two countries floated proposals to host talks in order to give the final shape to the agreement. Pakistan has committed to open the corridor in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.
Two days later, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor at Narowal, 125 km from Lahore. The decision to build the corridor -- from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border -- was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22. The two governments have also launched the construction work to build corridor for the Sikh pilgrims to help them visit the shrine through the shortest route. But, both sides are yet to finalise the modalities of travel of the Indian pilgrims to the Gurudwara across the international border without visa.