Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 3
India has cited Covid protocols and a pending technical issue to justify the continued closure of the Kartarpur corridor despite Pakistan reopening it on Saturday.
The Pakistan government had earlier announced that the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on its side had been reopened as the Covid situation in the country had improved.
But in India, which has fared worse with Covid deaths crossing the 1 lakh-mark, a decision on reopening would be taken in accordance with the Covid protocols and easing of restrictions, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. In the wake of the pandemic, the government had shut down the Kartarpur corridor in March. Pakistan too had imposed a ban on its nationals from accessing it.
In June, Pakistan had reopened the corridor briefly to commemorate Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary, but India had rejected the offer as the pandemic was a major worry.
The MEA said it continued to remain in touch with the authorities concerned, including Ministries of Home Affairs and Health, on its reopening.
A notification issued by Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs on Friday allows Indian visitors to come daily from dawn to dusk.
The MEA also pointed out that Pakistan was yet to fulfil some commitments at the time of opening of the corridor and in the bilateral agreement signed in October last year. Even after a year, Pakistan has not constructed the bridge over Budhi Ravi Channel, while it is ready at India’s end. Despite a technical meeting with Pakistan, there is no progress by Pakistan, Srivastava said.