Pakistan has turned down the request from the Indian side for a land swap between India and Pakistan in the Punjab region to make Kartarpur a part of India.
“Absolutely not”, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in Islamabad on Thursday, responding to a media query if Pakistan would consider handing over the Kartarpur land to India in a swap deal.
“It’s a gesture for Sikh minority community made on their request to provide a visa-free corridor to facilitate visit to a religious shrine. The decision to open the Kartarpur corridor was taken at the state-to-state level and the Indian government was fully involved in it,” he added.
The Punjab assembly on December 14 had unanimously passed a resolution, seeking an India-Pak land swap deal on Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak located in Narowal district of Pakistan. The Capt Amarinder Singh government had decided to take up the proposal with the Union government, offering over 10,000 acres in the Dera Baba Nanak area in exchange for the land on which the historic gurdwara stands barely three kilometres from the India-Pakistan border.
Congress Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa too had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September with a similar demand. Citing an example from 1962 when land was swapped with Pakistan in return for a piece of land at Hussainiwala where the cremation site of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru is located, Bajwa said it will also negate national security concerns that may arise from the corridor.