Islamabad, Nov 9 (UNI) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday called the opening of Kartarpur Corridor as a goodwill gesture and said that relations between India and Pakistan would further improve if New Delhi changes its current policy on Kashmir.
Speaking a few hours ahead of the opening of the corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur to Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, Qureshi told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the objective behind the corridor was a “goodwill gesture” and Prime Minister Imran Khan had always said that for every step taken by India towards peace, Pakistan would take two steps.
“Unfortunately, we did not get the same response. Despite that, we decided to continue with the Kartarpur Corridor and the Kartarpur Spirit,” he said.
“It’s not just the corridor, it’s the spirit behind the corridor that needs to be understood. And it has given us a lot of goodwill in the Sikh community.”
However, Qureshi said any improvement in bilateral relations will depend on India changing its policy on the Kashmir issue. “If they continue to do what they are doing in Kashmir, I see no respite,” he added.
The Kartarpur Corridor marks a rare instance of cooperation between the two countries against the backdrop of heightened tensions over New Delhi’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories.
Qureshi even compared the opening of the corridor to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the reunification of East and West Germany and coincided with the collapse of Soviet Union. “You saw the Berlin Wall go down…It changed the face of Europe. Kartarpur can change the face of South Asia,” he added.
Speaking to media on the eve of the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor on Thursday, Mr Qureshi said that Pakistan does not want dialogue just for the sake of it. “Therefore, there is no question…Kartarpur [opening] does not mean we will restore diplomatic ties,” he added.