New Delhi: The Indian delegation, on Friday, a day after the first meeting between India and Pakistan, has strongly protested against the “rampant encroachment” of Khartarpur’s Gurdwara Darbar Sahib land by Pakistani authorities in the name of developing the corridor.
While accusing Pakistan of “surreptitiously usurping” land belonging to the Sikh shrine, the official sources said that Pakistan has lived up to its reputation of double-speaking. Pakistan has objected to nearly all the proposals made by India, claimed a government official.
The official said, “Lands owned by the gurdwara have been surreptitiously usurped by the government of Pakistan in the name of developing the corridor. A strident demand was made by India for restoration of these lands to the holy gurdwara urgently, keeping in view the strong sentiments on the issue within India.”
Pakistan, contrary to what they had offered earlier, is now seeking to restrict the duration of the agreement on the Kartarpur for two years and even seeking to limit the number of pilgrims to 700 per day, the official said. They have now also demanded requirement of special permits to pilgrims despite having assured visa-free passage to the shrine, the official added.
While responding to the Indian reports, Pakistan government sources said, “India is in no position to object on any land or its allotment and its use in the Pakistani territory … Every country has the right to decide how a religious corridor within its territory would operate and we take no dictations … The corridor is strictly for Indian citizens in light of the 1992 proposal by Pakistan. If other nationalities want to visit, they can legally obtain a Pakistani visa.”
According to media reports, a Pakistan government source said there is a “sea of difference between the Indian attitude which we saw at Attari and what we are now witnessing through fictitious leaks”. He added that the Indian government is “working hard to serve its domestic audience.”