Pak to allow Indian pilgrims visa-free, year-long travel to Kartarpur Gurudwara
July 14, 2019
Amritsar: Indian Sikh pilgrims will be able to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan as the country 0n Sunday agreed to allow visa free travel for the Indian passport holders and OCI card holders seven days a week.
Throughout the year, 5000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara per day. The pilgrims will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot.
The agreement was reached at the second rounds of India-Pakistan Kartarpur corridor talks at the Wagah border, the Ministry of External Affairs said here in a statement.
Kartarpur Gurudwara in Pakistan’s Narowal district is highly revered by the Sikh community .It is about 4 km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur.
India has also demanded that 10,000 additional pilgrims be allowed to visit on special occasions and there should be no restrictions on the pilgrims in terms of their faith.
New Delhi underscored to the other side the importance for ensuring safe and secure environment for the pilgrims and expressed concerns regarding individuals or organisations based in Pakistan who may try to disrupt the pilgrimage and misuse the opportunity to play with the sentiments of the pilgrims were shared, the MEA said, adding that a dossier was handed over to the Pakistan side to highlight concerns in the matter. The Indian delegation has also sought consular presence in Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara to be able to provide assistance to the pilgrims, if required.
”Pakistan side assured our delegation that no anti-India activity would be allowed, ” the MEA statement said.
During the talks, India also raised the issue of encroachment of the land belonging to the Gurudwara, following which the Pakistan side agreed to look at this issue.
India has already made significant progress to build a state of art infrastructure, including passenger terminal on the Indian side that can handle over 15000 pilgrims in a day. This is targeted to be completed by 31 October 2019. The work on the 4-lane highway to the crossing point at the International Boundary is progressing satisfactorily and is on schedule. It will be completed by end September 2019. The Government is confident that India would be ready to commence the pilgrimage through Kartarpur corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji.
Pakistan highlighted the infrastructural constraints on their side and conveyed that they may be able to accommodate many of the Indian proposals in a phased manner, the MEA said.
India News Stream.