Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today raised concern over "discernible slowdown" on Pakistan's part in completing work on the Kartarpur corridor, nearly a week after India scrapped special status from Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories.
"With the momentous 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji just three months away, any slowdown in the project would lead to its non-completion in time for the historic event," Mr Singh said in a statement over reports that India sent a reminder to Islamabad to hold meetings to finalise key Kartarpur decisions.
Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India after the centre's move on Jammu and Kashmir.
Once built, the corridor will connect the Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims. The pilgrims will require just a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, an important Sikh shrine established in 1522 by the faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev.
"Political concerns should not be allowed to be clouded by any decision that was detrimental to the interests of the people on both sides," Mr Singh said on trade freeze at the Attari-Wagah border. He said it will lead to heavy economic losses for the poor in Pakistan, as the goods would now have to take the longer sea route through Iran or Dubai.
Mr Singh said Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter of India, and Pakistan should not link it with diplomatic or trade ties between the two nations.
"Kashmir is our internal matter & Pakistan's decision to downgrade diplomatic ties is a knee-jerk reaction. Both countries must take adequate steps to ensure progress of Kartarpur corridor isn't jeopardized in light of Pakistan government's decision to downgrade diplomatic relations with India," Mr Singh tweeted on Thursday.
Pakistan last month had agreed in-principle to build a bridge on the zero line of the Kartarpur corridor to provide all-weather connectivity. The development came after a second round of talks over the corridor.
India is already constructing a bridge on the zero line; Pakistan, however, had been insisting on constructing a causeway, which India believes, would act as a barrier, directing more flood water towards India.