Pakistan's reply to India's 'childish' response to Kartarpur talks initiative will be 'mature', says FO
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday termed India's response to Pakistan's invitation for negotiations on the opening of the Kartarpur crossing as "childish", saying that Islamabad's reply will be "mature".
Earlier this week, Pakistan had sent India a draft of the proposed agreement on the Kartarpur corridor and called for initiation of negotiations for its finalisation. A statement issued at the time by the Foreign Office said: “The Government of Pakistan has shared the draft agreement between Pakistan and India for facilitation of Sikh yatrees (pilgrims) to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal.”
The statement was accompanied by a short video titled “Development of Kartarpur Corridor” and 14 pictures showing development activity on the Pakistan side.
Instead of responding to Pakistan's initiative, however, India asked a Pakistani delegation to visit New Delhi to "discuss and finalise the modalities" so that Indian Sikh pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the crossing. The invitation also suggested two possible dates — Feb 26 and March 7 — for the meeting.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the work on development of the Kartarpur corridor in November last year. Islamabad took the initiative of opening the corridor to narrow the trust deficit with New Delhi as it has been preventing the resumption of bilateral dialogue.
Pakistan is to construct the nearly four-kilometre-long corridor from the border to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib, whereas India is to construct and develop the corridor from Dera Baba Nanak, in East Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, to the international border.
During a Foreign Office's weekly briefing today, Dr Faisal also warned that any aggression from New Delhi will be responded in kind.
"Peace [initiatives] will be responded to with peace and a bullet will be repaid with a bullet," Dr Faisal said.
Dr Faisal denied that the militant Islamic State group had any presence in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan had facilitated that peace talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban, that were held in Doha.
Foreign Office spokesperson clarified that Islamabad's policy regarding Israel had not changed. He once again mentioned that no travel restrictions had been imposed on Aasia Bibi.