Lahore, October 16

A Pakistani court has questioned the federal government on the construction of the Kartarpur Corridor in Punjab, directing the authorities to explain whether the project was “not an intervention” in the affairs of the provincial government.

During a hearing on a petition against undue delay in the construction of Lahore-Narowal Road, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Thursday asked a federal law officer as to who was responsible to construct the road—federal or provincial government.

The law officer said the matter of releasing funds for the construction of the road in question did not fall within the ambit of the federal government.

Chief Justice Khan asked: “If construction of the road was the subject of the province how the federal government constructed and controlled the project of Kartarpur Corridor. Do the governments work on their personal wishes or under the law?”

The judge directed the law officer to tell the court whether Kartarpur Corridor’s project carried out by the federal government “was not an intervention in the affairs of the province of Punjab.” The judge said the court may issue a notice to the prime minister if the meddling on the part of the federal government in the affairs of the province was established.

“We would issue a notice to the prime minister if necessary,” he said.

The chief justice adjourned the hearing for two weeks and also directed Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan to file a reply in the matter.

In November last year, India and Pakistan threw open the corridor linking Dera Baba Sahib in Gurdaspur in India and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, in a historic people-to-people initiative as part of commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev The Imran Khan government had taken credit of the construction of the corridor, while Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid claimed that it was the “brainchild” of Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It is the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, who had spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.

The corridor—which allows Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free travel to the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara—was closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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