EAM Swaraj will raise Kartarpur issue with Pak FM

New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a press briefing here on Thursday confirmed that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will raise the issue of Kartarpur corridor with her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi during their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Kumar said, “Even now after so many years, we don’t have any official communication from the Pakistani government that they’re willing to consider this matter.”
Kumar further said that the issue has been taken up with the Pakistani side several times in the past and present.

“You are aware that there is a 1974 Protocol between India and Pakistan on the visit to religious shrines. Kartarpur Saheb does not form part of this list. During the visit of the then Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee to Lahore in 1999, the issue was raised to consider a visa-free visit to the shrine but there was no response from the Pakistani side,” he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a request from Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal announced on the eve of 400th anniversary of Prakash Utsave on 1st September 2004 at Amritsar the provision of the corridor to Kartarpur Saheb. Following this, on 4th September 2004, during the FS level talks, we requested that Kartarpur Saheb be included in the list under Protocol. This was not agreed to by the Pakistani side. In 2005, Pakistan agreed to allow the visit to three shrines with visas including to Kartarpur but did not include it in Protocol,” he said.

Kumar said that in 2008, the then-EAM had also raised the issue with the then-Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi but since then there has been no official response from the Pakistani side.

“It may be noted that all political parties have taken up this matter. Recently, as you are aware, Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal ji also wrote to EAM on this matter to which EAM has replied that she will raise this issue with the Pakistani Government,” he said.