Pakistan, India sign Kartarpur Corridor agreement for Sikh Pilgrims

 

A gate erected at Kartarpur Corridor to welcome Sikh pilgrims

A gate erected at Kartarpur Corridor to welcome Sikh pilgrims

By Nasir Aijaz
AsiaN Representative

Islamabad: Pakistan and India signed the Kartarpur Corridor agreement at zero line of Pakistan-India Narowal border in Punjab province on Thursday.

“The corridor will be open from dawn to dusk. Pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return the same day,” Dr. Faisal, Foreign Office spokesman, said while addressing the media after the signing of the agreement.

“There will be a $20 per visitor per visit, as service charges. The corridor will be operational throughout the year,” Dr. Faisal said adding that the prime minister will inaugurate the corridor on November 9.

He said India will send the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days ahead of travel date, while pilgrims will be informed four days before the travel date.

The foreign office spokesman added that the signing of the agreement, despite many challenges indicates the resolve of Prime Minister Imran Khan to fulfill his commitment in line with the Islamic principles for respect of all religions and government’s policy to promote interfaith harmony.

Officials of Pakistan and India signing the agreement for opening the Kartarpur Corridor

Officials of Pakistan and India signing the agreement for opening the Kartarpur Corridor

“It was difficult and tough negotiations with India given the history of tense relations with the country,” Dr. Faisal said.

Responding to a question, he said Sikh pilgrims from other countries including Canada and Europe will also be facilitated to visit their sacred places in Pakistan.

He said elaborate security arrangements have also been put in place for the Yatrees (Pilgrims).

According to details of the agreement between Islamabad and New Delhi, Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor.

Travel will be visa free; pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport. Persons of Indian origin need to carry Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card along with the passport of their country.

Furthermore, pilgrims will have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups.

Pakistan handed the final draft of the proposed bilateral agreement over to India on October 11 and also accepted New Delhi’s demand to allow devotees of other faiths – Hindus, Christians, Zoroastrians etc. to visit Baba Guru Nanak Devji’s final resting place.

A view of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan

A view of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan

The Kartarpur Corridor is a border corridor between India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. The opening of this corridor coincides with 550th Birth Anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion. Pakistan has invited former prime minister of India Manmohan Singh to attend the opening ceremony of Kartarpur Corridor.

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