Islamabad: Pakistan witnessed a political coup in 2018 with cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan breaking the dominance of the PML-N and the PPP – the two main political parties that have been repeatedly in power – to become prime minister and initiate steps like opening the Kartarpur corridor to improve ties with India.The Indo-Pak ties strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists in 2016 and India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The ties further nose-dived in 2017 with no bilateral talks talking place between them.
Amid deadly skirmishes along the Line of Control and diplomatic bickering for better part of 2018, the consensus on both sides to open the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims has created a ray of hope for improvement in Indo-Pak ties in 2019. The corridor is likely to be completed before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev next year.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said, “Kartarpur is not an isolated event” and the process to engage India was set in motion by PM Khan when he wrote a letter to PM Modi in September, offering dialogue to resolve all disputes, including Kashmir.
“Unfortunately, the process whittled after India cancelled a meeting of the two Foreign Ministers scheduled to be held on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York,” he said. Defence analyst Talat Masood said the Kartarpur corridor was a good confidence-building measure. “There should be follow-up steps to build on the goodwill generated by the opening of Kartarpur corridor,” he said.