Sushma Swaraj turns down Pakistan's invite for Sikh pilgrim corridor event
Islamabad, Nov 24: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will not visit Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims, her office said.
She had been invited by her counterpart Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today.
Thanking Qureshi, Swaraj said Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri will travel to Pakistan instead.
I thank HE Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Foreign Minister of Pakistan for inviting me to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor on the Pakistan side of the International boundary on 28 November 2018. /1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) November 24, 2018
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 is set to be fulfilled with both the countries announcing that they would develop the stretch.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the facilities at on the Pakistan 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 @SushmaSwaraj , Capt Amarinder Singh @capt_amarinder & Navjot Singh Sidhu @sherryontopp to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at #Kartarpura on 28 Nov, 2018," Qureshi tweeted.
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.