Islamabad, August 8: A day after "downgrading" bilateral ties with India, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry issued a statement clarifying that the spate with New Delhi over Jammu & Kashmir would not affect its commitment towards the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, which the Imran Khan government has proposed to open up for Indian Sikh pilgrims by November this year.
However, the Imran Khan-led government has decided to discontinue the Samjhauta Express services. Also referred to as 'Friendship Express', the by-weekly train launched in 1994 plies between Lahore-Attari and Lahore-New Delhi. MEA Responds to Pakistan's 'Downgrading' of Bilateral Ties With India Over Article 370 Row, Says Move 'Not Surprising'
According to reports, the train which had left from Lahore has been stopped by the Pakistani authorities near Wagah, leaving scores of passengers stranded.
The move comes a day after Pakistan decided to "downgrade" bilateral ties with India in retaliation to the Narendra Modi government's "unilateral" decision to revoke J&K's special status by diluting Article 370.
Work on Kartarpur Corridor to Continue
Islamabad on Thursday confirmed that the work on Kartarpur corridor, falling on the Pakistani side, will continue unabated. The road route will link Dera Baba Nanak in India's Gurdaspur district to the Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan's Narowal district.
The shrine is attached to the sentiments of Sikh community as it is the final resting place of Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikhism. Since the last 70 years, the Sikh community in India and Pakistan have been petitioning their respective governments seeking a route to connect Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib.
Imran Khan, shortly after taking over as the Prime Minister of Pakistan last year, announced that his government would be fulfilling the long-pending aspiration of Sikh community by opening up the Kartarpur corridor.
The foundation laying ceremony was held on November 28 last year in presence of Imran Khan, and was attended by Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on behalf of India. On the Indian side, the stone-breaking ceremony was held on November 27, and was attended by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Badal.