The corridor has been established to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province via the Kartarpur Corridor which will be inaugurated on Saturday ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, ISPR chief Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
“As we have a security link, the entry would be a legal one under a permit on a passport-based identity. There will be no compromise on security or sovereignty,” Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn quoted Ghafoor, the Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the military, as saying on Wednesday.
Kartarpur Corridor provides a visa-free access to Indian Sikhs to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, originally known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, a highly revered Sikh shrine where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.
The corridor has been established to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on November 12.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had on November 1, while announcing the completion of Kartarpur Corridor on Twitter, announced waiving conditions of carrying a passport for identification and prior registration for the visitors.
The Pakistan government also exempted the Indian pilgrims from paying a $20 entry fee on the day of inauguration of the corridor and Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday.
The Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday, in a separate statement, said that the passport waiver for Kartarpur pilgrims would extend up to one year.
FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal was responding to a question on a statement by Director General ISPR where he termed passport a must requisite for Indian pilgrims using Kartarpur Corridor.
“This is the formal position of Foreign Office and the ISPR statement is also in line with it,” he said.
The spokesman mentioned that $20 service fee per pilgrim would not be charged for first two days after inauguration of Corridor, i.e. November 9 and 10.
He said the package of goodwill gestures also included abolishing the requirement of 10-day advance intimation.
He confirmed that Pakistan had issued visa to Indian politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for his visit to holy shrine of Baba Guru Nanak.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan was expecting a massive inflow of Sikhs from all over the world to visit their revered site, adding that the incumbent government had in particular interest in promotion of religious tourism.
He said promotion of Hindu and Buddhist sacred situated inside Pakistan was also under consideration as the country was a cradle of ancient civilizations for centuries.
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