Pak-India signs Kartarpur corridor agreement

By Staff Reporter
Sunday – October 27, 2019
ISLAMABAD: In line with prime minister (PM) Imran Khan’s commitment, undertaking Pakistan’s policy of promoting interfaith harmony and upholding Islamic traditions of respect for all religions, Pakistan and India signed the agreement for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur corridor, on Thursday.

According to an official statement, as promised, PM Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur corridor on November 9th, 2019, well in time for the 550th anniversary celebrations. 

The agreement will facilitate visa free travel of 5,000 pilgrims daily (to be enhanced on special occasions, subject to capacity), in groups or individually, on foot or by bus to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur in Narowal, Pakistan, from dawn to dusk throughout the year, except on public holidays or for exigencies/emergencies, which will be notified to India in advance.

Pilgrims will travel on valid Indian passport, non resident Indians will also be required to carry their Indian origin cards.

Pakistan will charge $20 per pilgrim on every visit, as the service charge. 

 The Government of India (GoI) will share pilgrim lists, 10 days in advance.

Pakistan will share the final list of pilgrims, four days in advance.

Advance exchange of pilgrim list will facilitate pilgrims allowing them to make plans in advance and providing sufficient time to both governments for processing. 

 The signing of the agreement, despite the challenging environment is unprecedented and reflective of PM Khan’s commitment towards facilitating Nanak Naam Levas to visit their most reverential place of worship, in line with Pakistan’s Kartarpur initiative and groundbreaking ceremony last year. 

 The agreement was signed by Pakistan’s foreign office (FO) South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) director general (DG) Mohammad Faisal and Indian home affairs ministry’s joint secretary SCL Das, as the two headed the negotiating delegations of Pakistan and India respectively.

Earlier on Monday, according to an Indian official statement: “The GoI has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev so that the pilgrims from India and those holding overseas citizen of India card can undertake visit to the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur in Pakistan.

“It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continue to insist on levying a service fee of $20 per pilgrim per visit.

“GoI has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee.

“In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur and in the interest of operationalisation of the corridor in time before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on November 12th, 2019, GoI has on Monday conveyed that we will be ready to sign the agreement on Kartarpur corridor on October 23, 2019.

“While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Government of Pakistan (GoP) has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims.

“India will be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time.”