New Delhi: In a special gesture, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced waiver of the mandatory 10-day-long registration process for Indian Sikh pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, as well as carrying passports as identity proof.
Khan also waived off $20 ‘service fee’ for all Indian pilgrims coming on the day of inauguration, November 9, and on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, November 12.
“For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: 1) They wont need a passport — just a valid ID; 2) They no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on the day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday,” Imran Khan tweeted on Friday.
However, sources in the Indian government said that so far no official communication has reached them. It is learnt that any change, as announced by Pakistan’s PM, would mean modification in the agreement that was signed between the two countries on October 24. Sources added that in such a scenario a fresh agreement will have to be signed.
The Indian government is hoping that Pakistan will at some point give up its demand for $20 “service fee” for pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara through the corridor.
In a statement issued some time back, the ministry of external affairs had urged Pakistan to shed rigidity and drop the ideas of charging the pilgrims $20 ‘service fee’.
“Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the Indian government said in a statement, adding that India would be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time when Pakistan decides to change its mind.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations signed a landmark agreement last week to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday....