Backtracking from its earlier decision, Pakistan on Friday said that it will charge an entry fee of $20 from every pilgrim on the opening day of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, Saturday.
This comes days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a waiver in the said fee for two days, ie, the opening day and on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birthday.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier in October requested Imran Khan to withdraw a proposed facilitation charge of $20 (Rs 1,422) for visitors to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, ISPR chief Major General Asif Ghafoor was quoted as saying by Pakistani media that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province via the Kartarpur Corridor.
Following the reports, Indian Government said that pilgrims travelling to Pakistan to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara will need to carry passports.
Indian pilgrims will be allowed entry under a “permit on a passport-based identity”, the Pakistani media had reported.
Speaking on the development, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar had said that reports coming in from Pakistan are “conflicting”.
India chided Pakistan for creating confusion over the formal inauguration of the Kartarpur Saheb Corridor while making it clear that the pilgrimage beginning on Saturday should in no way be construed as a precursor to the formal resumption of talks between the two countries.
On November 1, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that Sikh pilgrims from India would not need a passport to travel to Kartarpur and no fee would be charged on the opening day of the corridor on November 9.
In a tweet, Khan said: “For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off two requirements: i) they won’t need a passport-just a valid ID; ii)they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee to be charged on day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday (sic).”
The corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just about four km from the international border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor in Gurdaspur on Saturday morning, while Khan will declare it open from the other end.
On November 22, last year, just a day before the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Union Cabinet decided to build and develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the international border for Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan.