India-Pakistan singed Kartarpur Sahib Corridor agreement on Thursday

October 24, 2019 03:50 PM
Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Pakistan

By Chanchan Manohar Singh

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur): India-Pakistan 0n Thursday signed the Agreement on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district. At least 5000 Indian pilgrims will be allowed every day to cross the border into Pakistan without visas and without Passport. Each pilgrim will have to pay $20 as service charges to Pakistan.

The India will send the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days ahead of the travel date. The pilgrim will be intimated of confirmation 4 days before the travel date.

The Corridor will open from dawn to dusk. The Pilgrims traveling in the morning will have to return the same day before closing of the Gates. The Pilgrims will have a choice to visit as an individual or as a member of a group. He would also have the choice to go by bus or simply walks down individually to Darbar Baba Nanak.

For registration of pilgrims, the online portal (prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in) has gone live on Thursday morning. The pilgrims may have to necessarily register themselves online on this portal and exercise their choice to travel on any day. Pilgrims will be informed by SMS and email of the confirmation of registration 3 to 4 days in advance of the date of travel.  An Electronic Travel Authorization will also be generated. The pilgrims need to carry Electronic Travel Authorization, along with their passport, when they arrive at the Passenger Terminal Building.

The India will send the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days ahead of the travel date. The pilgrim will be intimated of confirmation 4 days before the travel date.

Representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Home Affairs along with the representatives from Government of Punjab and cream of journalist from India were present at the signing ceremony.

With the signing of this Agreement, a formal framework has been laid down for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the Kartarpur Corridor to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur Sahib, where first Guru of the Sikhs spent his last 17 years six months and a few days before departing on his last journey from this world.

The other salient features of the agreement are: The travel will be Visa Free but pilgrims will have to carry their passport in exchange which a special permit for visit to Gurdwara  Kartarpur Sahib will be granted and on return journey to India the availed permit will be returned to the Pakistan authorities to take back the passport.

The Persons of Indian Origin who reside abroad, will required to carry his/her OCI card along with the passport of their adopted country.

The Corridor will remain open throughout the year, except on notified holidays, to be informed in advance.

The Pakistan side has assured India to make enough provision for ‘Langar’ (Community Lunch) and distribution of ‘Prasad’;

The main issue that has been a point of discussion is the insistence of Pakistan to levy US Dollars 20 as a service charge per pilgrim per visit.

The Indian side had been consistently urging Pakistan to not to levy any service charges on the pilgrims. However, India has shared its deep disappointment with Pakistan for its refusal to waive the service fee. However, in the interest of the pilgrims and timely operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, before the 550th Prakash Purb, India has signed the Agreement today.

While the Agreement has been signed, the Government of India continues to urge this issue with the Government of Pakistan to reconsider its insistence on levying the fee. India remains ready to amend the Agreement anytime and all the required infrastructure viz., the highway and the Passenger

Terminal Building are nearing completion for the timely inauguration of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. A robust security architecture has been put in place while facilitating smooth and easy passage of pilgrims.

Have something to say? Post your comment