LAHORE: Representatives from Pakistan and India held a second round of talks in Lahore on Tuesday to discuss the way forward for the construction of the Kartarpur Corridor, an initiative which hopes to provide visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims from around the world.
Technical experts and foreign office officials from both sides participated in the meeting where they reviewed the progress made in the project and discussed matters related to the installation of a border fence, road design and construction of a bridge along the river Ravi.
The first round of talks was held on March 19 whereby it was decided that the two groups would meet again on April 2. However, India had decided to postpone the meeting on March 29.
Reacting to the change in plans, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal had said at the time: "Pakistan regrets the Indian decision to postpone the upcoming Kartarpur meeting, jointly agreed by both sides on 14 March 2019. The meeting was to discuss & find consensus on outstanding issues."
Once ready, the Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur district with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur area. It's a place which holds immense religious significance for Sikhs the world over as it was the final resting place of Sikhism's founder, Baba Guru Nanak who lived there for 18 years until his death in 1539.
Pakistan is planning to inaugurate the Corridor in November this year on the occasion of Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary.
While Pakistan will build one half of the project – from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur – the other half will be undertaken by India from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in the Gurdaspur district all the way to the border.
On November 28 last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone for the project during a groundbreaking ceremony which was attended by former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Indian Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri.