Indian Sikhs to get Pakistan visa under religious tourism policy


By Nasir Aijaz
AsiaN Correspondent

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for Sikh pilgrims looking to apply for visas to visit Kartarpur.

A meeting of the Ministry of Interior decided that two separate categories of visa applications would be added – one for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world and the other for Sikh pilgrims holding a residence permit from another country along with an Indian passport.

All visa applications from both categories for Kartarpur pilgrimages will be processed within seven to 10 working days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will collaborate with National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to come up with a standard operating procedure for visitors issued visas under the religious tourism category.

An amendment to the policy to make room for the two steps will be sought from the federal cabinet.

Pakistan has repeatedly assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak.

Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal area of Punjab province through the Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened in November.

The latest reassurance came from Foreign office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal while briefing the media regarding the technical talks that took place between delegations from India and Pakistan regarding Kartarpur.

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