Pakistan’s insistence on fee on pilgrims stalling pact on Kartarpur Corridor

Construction work on four-lane Highway connecting Dera Baba Nanak from Gurdaspur-Amritsar Highway to International border. File Photo

New Delhi: Pakistan’s insistence on levying service fee on pilgrims who would be visiting Kartarpur shrine continues to stall an agreement on operationalising the corridor, prompting India to hope today that Islamabad would reconsider its decision so that a pact can be signed “in time for the great event” early next month.

“After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except the matter of Service Fee, ” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said here.

“Pakistan insists on levying a fee of USD 20 (approx. Rs. 1420) on all pilgrims. We have urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees, and also because this is a people-to-people initiative, ” he said in a statement.

“We hope that the Agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event, ” Kumar said.

His response came after queries from the media whether Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor has not yet been finalized due to the Pakistani insistence that a service fee will be charged on all devotees who want to visit Kartarpur Sahib.

Kumar said the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is an important people-to-people initiative taken by India to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji.

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