‘India Won’t Attend SAARC Meet, Pak Must Stop Terror First’

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New Delhi: India will not attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said, emphasizing that the Kartarpur corridor project between the two countries will not lead to talks unless Pakistan stops sponsoring terror.

The Kartarpur corridor won’t lead to talks with Pakistan and they have to stop terror first, Ms Swaraj said on a day when a top Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist who had killed a senior journalist was shot dead by security forces in Budgam district. LeT terrorist Naveed Jatt, 20, was a resident of Multan in Pakistan.

“Bilateral dialogues and Kartarpur corridor are two different things. I am very happy that for the last 20 years, rather many years, the government of India has been asking for this Kartarpur corridor. For the first time, Pakistan responded positively to this,” the foreign minister told reporters in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

“But that doesn’t mean that the bilateral dialogue will start only on this (Kartarpur)… We always say terror and talks can’t go together. The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start. The dialogue is not connected with only Kartarpur corridor,” Ms Swaraj said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will today open the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev in Pakistan, to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is also coming to the event. Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu are attending the ceremony at Narowal, 120 km from Lahore. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to travel to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur without a visa. It is likely to be completed within six months, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Tuesday.

Pakistan has been under international pressure to act against terrorists who are operating from its soil, allegedly with support of its intelligence agencies. US President Donald Trump has often criticised Pakistan for not doing enough despite getting aid worth billions of dollars.

Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, is roaming freely in Pakistan.

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