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Pakistan FM rakes up Ayodhya verdict issue at Kartarpur corridor opening


KARTARPUR: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday raked up the Supreme Court's verdict in the Ayodhya case on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, wondering whether the ruling was timed to overshadow Islamabad's goodwill towards the Sikh community.

Talking to Indian journalists, he wondered why the verdict has been delivered on a day the Kartarpur Corridor was thrown open to Sikh pilgrims in a historic people-to-people initiative.

"Why the verdict came today. Its timing is significant. Is it not an effort to play down the historic initiative of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan for the Sikh community," Qureshi said.

In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said the decision by India's Supreme Court has failed to uphold the demands of justice and that it "shredded the veneer of so-called secularism of India."

In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry rejected the "unwarranted and gratuitous comments made by Pakistan on the judgment of the Supreme Court of India on a civil matter that is completely internal to India."

"It pertains to the rule of law and equal respect for all faiths, concepts that are not part of their ethos. So, while Pakistan's lack of comprehension is not surprising, their pathological compulsion to comment on our internal affairs with the obvious intent of spreading hatred is condemnable," the MEA said.

The Indian Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

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The Kartarpur corridor facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhism's holiest shrines in Pakistani town of Narowal was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan amid fanfare and presence of several thousands Sikhs.

The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The inauguration of the corridor comes in the midst of frayed ties between India and Pakistan following New Delhi's decision in August to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.