22:51 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Sikh pilgrim wait for food at the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.

    India Denies Visas to Pakistani Journalists for Indo-Pak Kartarpur Corridor Meet

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    The move has been denounced by Pakistan, which said that it had earlier provided visas to Indian journalists for the ground-breaking ceremony last year. The Indian administration contends that the meeting is not an “event”, but a technical and professional meeting.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Pakistan has expressed regrets over visa denial to Pakistani journalists by the Indian government for the first meeting on the Kartarpur Corridor, scheduled to take place on 14 March in Attari, a location on the Indo-Pak border in the north Indian state of Punjab.

    The two countries will discuss the modalities of allowing passage to Indian pilgrims, enabling them to pray at the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.

    READ MORE: India Begins Construction of Historic Religious Corridor to Pakistan

    Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday said that more than 30 Indian journalists were granted visas by the Pakistani authorities last year to cover the Kartarpur ground-breaking ceremony.

    "Regrettable that India has not given visas to Pakistani journalists for the Kartarpur meeting tomorrow. Hope the Kartarpur Spirit and meeting tomorrow will bring a change for the better for people of both countries", Dr Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson, said.

    Nevertheless, Indian government sources said on Wednesday that the scheduled meet is not an event, adding that it is a technical and professional meeting.

    Meanwhile, the two countries will also hold technical-level discussions on the corridor project. The meeting will take place exactly a month after the 14 February Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 Indian soldiers were killed, triggering India-Pakistan tensions.

    India plans to build a passenger terminal building complex by September 2019 near the border town of Dera Baba Nanak in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The terminal will facilitate the movement of 5,000 pilgrims every day to Kartarpur, located 4.5 kilometres inside Pakistan from the international border. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev, a first among the 10 Sikh Gurus, spent 18 years of his life at Kartarpur, which was also his final resting place.

    READ MORE: India, Pakistan to Complete Dedicated Corridor for Sikh Pilgrims by Next Year

    The two countries embarked on the corridor project just last year, some 70 years after the partition. The project comes in wake of demands made by the Sikh community, who want passage into Kartarpur for pilgrimage.

    There is a cross-border tiff currently underway between the two nuclear states after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack conducted by a Pakistan-based jihadi outfit. The tensions escalated to a point wherein two nations engaged in a show of air power, transgressing into each other's airspace. Cross-border firing and shelling of artillery is still going on unabated.


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