New Delhi: A day before the inauguration of the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan has formally informed India that it will charge $20 from every Indian pilgrim visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on November 9. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last week announced that no fee would be charged from the pilgrims on the opening day of the corridor and on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just four kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Earlier this week, Pakistan created similar confusion on the issue of whether Indian pilgrims are required to carry passports while visiting Kartarpur. As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two sides, Indians have to carry a valid passport for the visit.
However, in a recent tweet, Pakistan PM said his government has decided to exempt the condition of carrying a passport for Indian pilgrims at Kartarpur. But again on Thursday, Pakistan said Indians would require to carry passports to visit Kartarpur.
In response to this, the Ministry of External Affairs held a press conference saying India will abide by the MoU which said passport was required. The MEA said any change in the MoU can’t be made unilaterally.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations earlier signed an agreement, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.
The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life. Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee, though India has requested Pakistan not to charge the Indian pilgrims.
The Darbar Sahib Gurudwara, located some 4 km from the border with India, is believed to have been built on the site where Guru Nanak died in the 16th century. It is going to be linked with the 4.2 km-long Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 and dispatch the first lot of pilgrims to visit Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province on the occasion of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary.