Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had to face embarrassment after Pakistan Government on Wednesday clearly stated that there has been no official communication with India on the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Pak's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, was addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad where he made the statement, contradicting Navjot Singh Sidhu.
This comes after Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu stated that Pakistan had offered to allow visa-free access to the holy Kartarpur Sahib -- the reason Sidhu gave to justify his embrace with Pak Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Sidhu even thanked Pak PM Imran Khan and praised his leadership for restoring peace. He then proceeded to write a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and requested the intervention of the center, specifically asking India to make the first formal approach to Pakistan, even though it had been Pakistan that purportedly made the offer.
However, the External Affairs Ministry, in response to a request for clarification from union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, stated that the Pakistani government has so far neither agreed to include visits to Kartarpur Sahib by Indian pilgrims under bilateral protocol nor has it sent an official communication for establishing the corridor.
Not paying any heed to the reply, and after being 'reprimanded' the previous day by the External Affairs Minister, Navjot Singh Sidhu held a press conference on Tuesday and again requested Sushma Swaraj to send a formal request first. Speaking on the matter, Sidhu highlighted the sacred nature of Kartarpur Sahib and read from his letter to the EAM:
"Dear Ms Sushma. This is a follow up on my letter to you dated September after the verbal assurance given by the Chief of the Army Staff of Pakistan during the course of my attending the oath-taking ceremony in Islamabad, the honourable Prime Minister Of Pakistan has held consultative meet with all stakeholders confirming the long-standing desire of the Sikh pilgrims yearning to visit Kartarpur Sahib and that it will be fulfilled as they are ready to open the corridor. This was reiterated by Mr Fawad Chaudhary, information minister of Pakistan, through a tweet video interview to BBC Punjab on September 7, 2018, in which he stated that Pakistan is willing to open up the corridor and is waiting for India's formal affirmation on the issue. Kindly send a formal request from the ministry of external affairs.' That is what I have exhorted her and she even agreed. Kindly send a formal request form the Ministry of External Affairs to the government of Pakistan requesting for an early agreement and opening of the Kartarpur passage immediately after the current Monsoon season"