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Imran lays foundation stone for Kartarpur Corridor, but courts row over Kashmir & Sidhu


Kartarpur (Pakistan), Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performed the groundbreaking function of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district but he struck a discordant note by raking up 'Kashmir' issue and also making a veiled attack on the incumbent 'Indian leadership'. Indian Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep S Puri, Chief of Pakistan Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the ceremony. The event began with the airing of a film about the pilgrimage of members of the Sikh community to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.Speaking on the occasion, the Pakistan Prime Minister said if France and Germany after many wars can come together and have a good relation, India and Pakistan too can. However, the day's development was also marred by categorical assertion by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that Kartarpur Corridor has no links to reviving stalled talks between two countries. She said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi if invited will not go to Pakistan for SAARC Summit. For his part, Imran Khan made a veiled criticism on BJP leadership in India for their attack on cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for his visit during Imran Khan's swearing in ceremony and said Punjab Minister (Sidhu) had not committed any crime by pitching hard for peace between India and Pakistan. "Kaun sa zurm kiya tha (What crime did Sidhu commit)," Mr Khan remarked speaking after Mr Sidhu and others. Mr Khan's reference to 'Kashmir' provoked strong reactions from the Ministry of External Affairs in India - which said - "It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion". The Pakistani Prime Minister in his speech at Kartarpur function said: "The only issue between India and Pakistan is Kashmir" and maintained while "Human race has reached moon. Tell me what is the issue that human beings cannot solve. Can't India and Pakistan resolve one issue (Kashmir)". Pitching for a 'decisive' leadership which can have a big vision, Imran Khan referred to the strained relations between the two countries but said there is "no other option except friendship". "Both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed. There cannot be a war. Thinking of war is madness, thinking of winning is also madness as both will lose. There is no other option except friendship," Mr Khan said. He hoped his country will not have to wait for a leader like Navjot Singh Sidhu to become 'Prime Minister of India' for everlasting peaceful relations between two countries.

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