Pak showed inflexibility in talks on Kartarpur Corridor: MEA

New Delhi: Pakistan showed inflexibility in talks on the Kartarpur corridor and gave unfavourable responses on issues of charging a service fee, the number of pilgrims to be allowed on special occasions and allowing protocol officials to accompany them, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed on visa-free travel by Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib using the Kartarpur corridor but stopped short of finalising an agreement on the cross-border route.

Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims to visit the gurdwara every day using the planned corridor and the numbers could be more on special occasions. But the two sides could not finalise the draft agreement on the corridor.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We had hoped that all pending issues will be resolved. However we realised that Pakistan was quite inflexible during the talks.”

There were three issues on which the Indian side asked Pakistan to show some flexibility — their insistence on charging USD 20 per pilgrim, allowing 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions and Indian protocol officer to accompany the delegation that visits Kartarpur everyday.

“On all these counts we did not get a favourable responses,” Kumar said.

“We remain committed to the project. We are on schedule… We have urged Pakistan to show some flexibility. It involves the sensibility of the people. It is a long-pending demand,” he said.

In November 2018, India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak.