Dera Baba Nanak (NVI): India and Pakistan on October 24 signed a path-breaking and historic agreement to operationalise Kartarpur Sahib Corridor that will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
However, there has been no word on India’s demand for Pakistan to not to levy 20 US Dollar as service charge per pilgrim per visit.
Addressing a press conference, Joint Director, MHA, SCL Das said, “While we have signed the agreement today in the larger interest, we continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to reconsider this decision and their insistence to levying the fee and reverse this decision. We will continue to press it at various forum particularly at the diplomatic level, government to government level and we hope that some good sense will prevail and this decision would get modified and reversed”.
With the signing of this Agreement, a formal framework has been laid down for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs said. The corridor will be completed by October 31, a week before the celebrations to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji.
The 4.2 km corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province in Narowal district near the International Border. Founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev had spent his last 18 years at this place.
Under the agreement, atleast 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site everyday without a visa.
The agreement, intended to facilitate pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was inked during a ceremony in presence of representatives from the India’s Ministries of External Affairs, Defence and Home Affairs along with the representatives from Government of Punjab.
Under the agreement Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor visa free but only with a valid passport. Persons of Indian Origin need to carry OCI card along with the passport of their country.
The Corridor will be open only from dawn to dusk and pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return the same day.
The Corridor will be operational throughout the year, except on notified days, to be informed in advance. They will have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups, and also to travel on foot. India will send the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days ahead of travel date and confirmation will be sent to pilgrims four days before the travel date.
For registration of pilgrims, the online portal (prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in) has gone live on October 24. 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 three to four days in advance of the date of travel. Moreover, 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.