Kartarpur corridor opening India, Pak accuse each other of politicizing issue

Kashmir Times. Dated: 12/7/2018 12:48:58 PM

India gave political colour to my gesture: Imran

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD, Dec 6 (Agencies) India and Pakistan Thursday accused each other of politicizing the issue of opening of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims and described it as “unfortunate.”
India described as “unfortunate” Pakistan’s attempt to politicise the issue of opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan today said that India gave a “political colour” to his gesture of opening the border and called it “unfortunate.”
In New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the opening of the corridor was a fulfillment of a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.
“It was unfortunate that Pakistan has attempted to politicize a religious issue related to the sentiments of the Sikh community,” he said. “We hope that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to implement their announcements.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking ceremony on November 28 to develop the Kartarpur corridor to link Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur in India with Kartarpur gurdwara in the presence of Indian ministers.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi later said that Khan had bowled India a “googly” by taking the initiative of opening the Kartarpur border. His jibe came after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ruled out any dialogue with Pakistan, saying talks and terror cannot go together.
Sushma Swaraj said that Qureshi’s remarks exposed that Pakistan had no respect for the Sikh sentiments and it was doing it all for politics.
In Islamabad, Imran said, “Unfortunately, India portrayed it as us seeking political advantage. During my swearing-in ceremony when Navjot Singh Sidhu visited we had discussed this.”
Imran was quoted as saying by Dawn while he was addressing the cabinet.
“... the Indian media has given Kartarpur border opening a political colour, as if we did this to gain some sort of political mileage. This is not true. We did it because it is part of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s manifesto,” Imran said.
“I am glad that the government pressed for the opening of the corridor. If someone’s religious sites are in Pakistan then we should facilitate them. We are not doing anything new, these things were part of our manifesto,” said Khan.
The leader added that the Sikh community responded very positively to the effort. “It (Kartarpur) is to them what Medina is to us,” Khan said, adding that he was hopeful that “India will also respond positively”.



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