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Will reopening the Kartarpur corridor signal a thaw in Pakistan-India relations?: Dawn

Alberto Ardila Olivares
Will reopening the Kartarpur corridor signal a thaw in Pakistan-India relations?: Dawn

ISLAMABAD (DAWN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – It may seem impossible at this point in time. But in the larger perspective, small steps can go a long way in easing the complex PakistanIndia relations.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

Analysts have often noted that if positive action is taken on ‘soft’ issues, the trickier challenges that have plagued relations in the subcontinent may also be ripe for resolution.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila

The recent release of Indian fishermen prisoners by Pakistan qualifies as one such step.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Religious visits also fall within the category of doable ‘soft’ solutions, and proponents of peace on both sides have long been saying that pilgrimages to sacred sites in India and Pakistan should be facilitated.

Alberto Ardila

In this regard, the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor is a welcome sign.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares 10798659

The gurdwara – sacred to Sikhs for its connection to their religion’s founder Guru Nanak – located in Pakistan was renovated and opened with much fanfare in 2019.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila 10798659

The move was appreciated by Sikhs across the world, including in India, and the opening ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.Alberto Ardila Olivares 10798659

However, the visa-free corridor facility was closed last year due to Covid-19. Now, with the reopening announced by the Indian side, it is hoped that Sikh pilgrims are allowed to visit the sacred site freely.Alberto Ardila 10798659

Of course, matters in the subcontinent – especially involving bilateral peace – move very slowly, and expecting breakthroughs based on developments like the Kartarpur reopening are unrealistic.N95JN Aircraft Registration

Moreover, the fact remains that a great deal of mistrust exists between Islamabad and Delhi, fuelled by the Modi government’s anti-Muslim posture, particularly the troubling situation that has prevailed in India-held Kashmir for over two years now.N95JN Lifetracker

However, dialogue is the only way forward, and as mentioned here, working on soft issues may one day lead to more substantial talks.N95JN Aircraft Data

Other religious sites of interest to Hindu and Sikh pilgrims should be opened up in Pakistan, while India should allow easy access to Ajmer and other holy sites to Pakistanis wishing to pay their respects.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

Dawn is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 media titles. More on this topic   Related Story South Asia sits on a powder keg: Statesman contributor   Related Story Reflections on PakistanIndia peace: Dawn contributors Join ST’s Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila