Islamabad, Nov 24 (PTI) Pakistan has invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to visit the country to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor next week, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday.
A long-pending demand of the Sikh community to build a religious corridor linking India’s border district of Gurdaspur with a historic gurudwara in Pakistan may finally be fulfilled with both the countries announcing that stretches would be developed in their respective areas.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the facilities on the Pakistani side on November 28.
Apart from Swaraj, Qureshi also invited Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to the ceremony.
“On behalf of Pakistan I have extended an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Capt Amarinder Singh & Navjot Singh Sidhu to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at Kartarpura on Nov 28, 2018,” Qureshi tweeted.
Official sources said that proper invitation letters were also dispatched to them.
There was no immediate response from New Delhi.
Amarinder Singh has invited Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the speaker of the Assembly in Pakistan’s Punjab province, to attend a similar ceremony on the Indian side on November 26, according to officials here.
If Swaraj accepts the invitation, it could break the chill in bilateral ties.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.
India called off a meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, citing the “brutal” killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and the release of the postal stamps “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday hoped that the Kartarpur corridor would act as a bridge between the peoples of India and Pakistan that might lead to a better future as he referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall to underline the importance of people-to-people contact.
Pakistan Foreign Office on Friday said the “Kartarpur Spirit can be a step forward in the right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship.”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.