Kartarpur sign-up delayed over Pak fee

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Current Affairs

India and Pakistan were to sign the agreement on Saturday, which did not happen.

The registration process was to begin on Sunday.

New Delhi: In the absence of any agreement signed by India and Pakistan on the Kartrapur Corridor, the Indian government has postponed the registration process of pilgrims for Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. The registration process was to begin on Sunday.

However, with Pakistan adamant on charging $20 fee from pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara using the corridor, the Indian side is not keen to hurry in signing the pact.

India and Pakistan were to sign the agreement on Saturday, which did not happen. It is learnt that the Indian officials who are part of the negotiations are continuing to engage with their Pakistani counterparts to convince them to remove the condition of $20.

“Since some issues are yet to be resolved, the online registration for the Kartarpur pilgrimage could not be started on Sunday,” said an official.

India has been constantly objecting to the $20 fee which Pakistan claims it will use for infrastructure maintenance and providing others facilities to the pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib.

The Indian side maintains that any amount charged is against the spirit of the goodwill that Pakistan is trying to create by opening the corridor. India also feels that this can lead to charging higher amount from Indian pilgrims in future.

“The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is an important people-to-people initiative taken by India to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji.

After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except the matter of service fee. Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $20 (approx. `1,420) on all pilgrims. We have urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees, and also because this is a P2P (people-to-people) initiative.  We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event,” spokesperson for ministry of external affairs Raveesh Kumar, had said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, sources close to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh made it clear that there is no question of Mr Singh attending the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan.

Sources underlined that Mr Singh will go as part of the ‘jattha’ and only as a normal pilgrim. He will not participate in any inauguration functions.

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