#Kartarpur, #KartarpurCorridor, #KartarpurPilgrims, #GuruNanak, #Pakistan, #India
New Delhi: The Indian government on Monday asked Pakistan not to levy USD 20 fee on pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara through the highly anticipated Kartarpur corridor.
Image credit: UNI
The Government has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji so that the pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, currently in Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.
“It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continue to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit. Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the MEA said.
In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, Government on Monday conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019.
“While agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” it said.
What is the Kartarpur Corridor?
Kartarpur is a small town in district Narowal, 4 km from the Pakistan- India border, where the founder of the Sikh religion, Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.
Subsequently, Gurdwara Darbar Sahab was built at the site on the Pakistan side and Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in India, which are visited by thousands of Sikhs every year.
As per the Pakistan Foreign Office statement released earlier: “Opening the corridor will allow Sikh Yatrees ease of access for their most reverential place of worship which has been their longstanding demand. This is also reflective of the importance and primacy that Pakistan gives to all minorities.”
(Published first in India Blooms News Services)