Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is ready to open Kartarpur Corridor despite tensions with India.
Pakistan stands ready to open the Kartarpur Corridor and welcome the Sikh pilgrims to the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
Speaking to a delegation of civil society and parliamentarians of Afghanistan, which is currently visiting Pakistan for the ‘Track-II dialogue, Beyond Boundaries’, the foreign minister said the current tensions with India would not affect Islamabad’s relationship with Kabul.
“Despite our tensions with India, we have decided go ahead with Kartarpur Corridor and we stand ready to welcome the Sikh pilgrims for the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak”, Qureshi told the delegation.
He also said that current tension with India will not affect Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan. “Border with Afghanistan will not be closed nor trade will stop. Why should Afghans suffer because of the idiosyncratic behaviour of Narendra Modi,” he said.
“Despite tensions with India, Pakistan is totally focused on the situation and its role in Afghanistan. It [Kashmir situation] can be a huge distraction but we are very clear what we need to do in Afghanistan,” he added while responding to a question if escalation with India can distract Pakistan.
Qureshi said that Pakistan did not believe in any strategic depth. “We want good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan and peaceful co-existence. We have no favourites in the upcoming election. It is not our business who governs Afghanistan. We will not interfere. Whoever you [Afghanistan] will choose, we will work with them.”
The foreign minister emphasised that honesty was the best way forward between the two countries. “It is foolish to think we can trick each other,” he said, adding that blaming each other was not an option. “Accusatory statement will not help each other.”
He also said that “we do not want Talibanisation of any region but they [Taliban] are Afghans and they are a reality”. He added: “We will also support intra-Afghan dialogue. The process has to be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.”
Qureshi told the delegation that he had invited the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s and China for a trilateral meeting. The foreign minister will come to Pakistan in the first week of September for the talks, he added.