Pakistan, India hold talks on Sikh corridor – Anadolu Agency

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KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan and India on Wednesday held talks on the opening of a key border crossing for Sikh pilgrims despite spiraling tensions between the two nuclear armed neighbors over Kashmir.

The third round of the talks on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor held at Atari — Indian side of the border which touches Pakistan’s northeastern Lahore city — concluded on a “positive” note, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal told reporters in Lahore.

Except for two or three points, he said, the two sides have almost agreed on a draft agreement for the operationalization of the corridor, including the number of pilgrims to be visiting Pakistan after the opening of the corridor ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, to be held in November in Pakistan.

According to state-run Radio Pakistan, New Delhi handed over a list of 5,000 Sikh pilgrims who wish visit Kartarpur in November.

Hoping that the remaining sticking points with respect to Kartarpur Corridor would also be resolved, the spokesman said: “We have shown a lot of flexibility. We are hopeful that if a little flexibility comes from India, the work will get done.”

Islamabad also invited New Delhi for the final meeting on the Pakistani side of the border to resolve the remaining points, he added.

Kartarpur border connects Pakistan’s northeastern Narowal city to India’s western Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur Sahib Temple is one of the most revered temples for the Sikh community as Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life here.

The distance between the temple and Gurdaspur is merely 3 kilometers (2 miles) but the closure of this crossing costs Sikh pilgrims from India to travel hundreds of kilometers, via Amritsar and Lahore, to reach here.

Observers feel the talks could thaw relations between the two neighbors after heightened tensions over India’s unilateral decision of removing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month.

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