Reversing the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan over the issue of carrying passports while visiting the Gurudwara in kartarpur, the Pakistani army on Thursday (November 7) stated that Indian Sikh pilgrims will need passports to visit the holy shrine.
According to a media report, the Pakistan army has stressed that Indian Sikh pilgrims who will be visiting the Kartarpur Sahib will need a passport to use the Kartarpur Corridor, which will be inaugurated this week.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Indian devotees would only need a valid ID to visit the revered Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
— ANI (@ANI) November 7, 2019
The comments came in the backdrop of India asking Pakistan to clarify whether Sikh pilgrims from India would be required to carry passports while visiting the Gurdwara in Kartarpur.
Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday said that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to use Kartarpur Corridor, quoted Hum News. “As we have a security link, the entry would be a legal one under a permit on a passport-based identity. There will be no compromise on security or sovereignty,” Ghafoor said.
On November 1, Prime Minister Khan while announcing the completion of Kartarpur Corridor on Twitter, said he had waived two requirements relating to passport and registering 10 days in advance for Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India. He said that Sikh pilgrims from India would only need a valid ID and not a passport to travel to Kartarpur.
The service fee of USD 20 dollars for those coming for the inaugural ceremony and on the 550th birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru on November 12 was also abolished. The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor has been established to commemorate his birth anniversary.
For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they wont need a passport – just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji's 550th birthday
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 1, 2019
The Kartarpur Corridor, which provides a visa-free access to Indian Sikhs to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, will be inaugurated on Saturday by Prime Minister Imran Khan to mark Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary.
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.
Kartarpur ready to welcome Sikh pilgrims. pic.twitter.com/P0uEQgWyMs
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 3, 2019
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 daily.
India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational through the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims, except kids and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.
(With inputs from agencies)