Pakistan assured today that it stands ready to open the Kartarpur Corridor and welcome the Sikh pilgrims to take part in celebrations in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said so while speaking to a delegation of civil society and parliamentarians of Afghanistan, which is currently visiting Pakistan for the 'Track-II dialogue, Beyond Boundaries'.
Speaking at the event, Mr Qureshi told the delegates that "Despite our tensions with India, we have decided go ahead with the Kartarpur Corridor and we stand ready to welcome the Sikh pilgrims for the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak."
Pakistan has been escalating tension with India after New Delhi revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories on August 5. India has made it clear to Pakistan that its constitutional move in Jammu and Kashmir is an "internal and sovereign matter", and Islamabad should "accept the reality".
The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.
Mr Qureshi also assured the Afghan delegation that current tension with India will not affect Afghanistan. "Border (with Afghanistan) will not be closed nor trade will stop," he said.
Mr Qureshi also told the Afghan delegation that he had invited the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and China for a trilateral meeting. The foreign minister will come to Pakistan in the first week of September for the talks, he added.