Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal.
Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday regretted India’s decision to postpone the upcoming Kartarpur meeting on April 2 jointly agreed by both sides on March 14. This was stated by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal following a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
“The meeting was to discuss and find consensus on outstanding issues,” he said on Twitter.
“Last minute postponement without seeking views from Pakistan and especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19 is incomprehensible.”
Faisal’s response comes shortly after New Delhi said it had “sought clarifications from Pakistan on key proposals put forward by India at the last meeting held in Attari to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.”
The statement by the Indian ministry had added that “the next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response.”
According to it, India has shared concerns and sought clarifications on reports that controversial elements have been appointed by Pakistan to a committee to be associated with the Kartarpur Corridor.” However, it did not elaborate on what ‘controversial elements’ it was referring to.
On Wednesday, the Federal Cabinet had constituted a ten-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) to facilitate Sikh pilgrims after opening of Kartarpur Corridor.
India also proposed in its statement that the infrastructure development for the corridor should go forward and “in an expeditious manner.”
“India has proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point agreed to at the last meeting,” the statement said.
According to it, the Indian government “remains committed to realise the long pending demand of the Indian pilgrims to visit the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan said there is no place for terrorists in his new Pakistan and reiterated that the country has no link to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
“We’re already cracking down on them, we’re already dismantling the whole set-up,” he said in an interview to Britain’s Financial Times. “What is happening right now has never happened before in Pakistan.”
Terming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as aggressor for resorting to an air strike inside Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, Imran said he fears India has been gripped by “war hysteria” ahead of the elections there. “I’m still apprehensive before the elections, I feel that something could happen. When Pulwama attack happened I felt that Modi’s government used that to build this war hysteria. The Indian public should realise that this is all for winning the elections. It’s nothing to do with the real issues of the subcontinent.”
Imran said Modi’s “anti-Muslim” government and its heavy-handed policies in Kashmir caused the attack.
“There’s JeM in India, the boy who blew himself up, the 19-year-old, was a Kashmiri-Indian boy,” he said. “His parents said he was radicalised by some abuse by the security force. So it was an Indian boy, Indian operation, Indian car, Indian explosive. Why was Pakistan blamed?”
The prime minister said that Pakistan could not allow terror groups to organise with impunity on its soil. “We cannot take the stance anymore where you have these armed groups in our country,” he said. “We can’t afford being blamed for any terrorist activity, like Pulwama.”
On Pakistan’s economic woes, Imran said Pakistan was “pretty close to an agreement” with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “I’m determined that this will be the last time Pakistan will ever have to go to the IMF,” he stressed.
The premier also challenged claims that Pakistan had become a client state of China under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “All I can say is that we are really grateful to the Chinese because this has been extremely helpful to us,” he said, dismissing criticism that China’s loans to Pakistan represent “debt-trap diplomacy.”
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