New Delhi: The ripples of the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor continue to be felt across New Delhi and Islamabad more than a week since the historic event.
India on Thursday claimed that there had been several protocol violations when two Indian cabinet ministers attended the ceremony to mark the launch of the construction of the cross-border pilgrim corridor.
The Economic Times reported on December 4 that neither Harsimrat Kaur Badal nor Hardeep Singh Puri was listed as speakers, even though Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was on a private trip, was given a speaking slot. Further, neither of the two Union ministers was presented with ‘saropas’.
Badal and Puri attended the ceremony at Gurudwara Durbar Sahib in Kartarpur on Nov 28 as Indian government representatives. Pakistan had initially invited external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who declined due to “prior commitments”.
At the weekly briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs revealed another protocol transgression.
“Not only the two incidents, even the protocol officer who is supposed to be there with the dignitaries was not allowed to go inside. This restricts their functionality. These are things which did happen,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Stating that Pakistan had politicised the Kartarpur project, he said that India hoped that Pakistan will implement its commitments.
I would just like to add that we see the opening of Kartarpur corridor as a fulfillment of long-pending demand of the Sikh community. It was unfortunate that Pakistan has attempted to politicise a religious issue related to the sentiments of the Sikh community. We hope that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to implement their announcements.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan army spokesperson Asif Ghafoor claimed that the initiative had been “negatively presented in India”.
He described the Kartarpur corridor as one of the “several initiatives for peace with India”.
Ghafoor said that the corridor will be “constructed in six months after which 4,000 Sikh pilgrims will be able to visit the Kartarpur daily”. “It will be a one-way corridor from the Indian side to Kartarpur, and the Sikh pilgrims will remain restricted to Kartarpur,” he told reporters.
Earlier on Sunday, Swaraj lashed out at her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi for terming the Kartarpur project as a “googly”. A day later, Imran Khan contradicted his foreign minister and claimed that it “was not a googly or a double game but a straightforward decision”.