Pakistan deploys special 'Tourism Police Force' for security of Kartarpur pilgrims

Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi said that more policemen are taking training and they will also join the first batch in coming days.
Kartarpur Complex (Photo | Twitter / Imran Khan)
Kartarpur Complex (Photo | Twitter / Imran Khan)

LAHORE: Pakistan's Punjab police on Thursday deployed a special 'Tourism Police Force' for the security of the Indian pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur corridor on a daily basis from Saturday when it will be opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Pakistan Rangers will be responsible for the security of the corridor and the Punjab police will coordinate with it. "A batch of 100 Tourism Police Force has been deployed to look after Sikh pilgrims and their security," Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi told PTI on Thursday.

He said that more policemen are taking training and they will also join the first batch in coming days. Similarly, the Pakistan Rangers have increased the number of personnel deployed at the corridor for security reasons. "The Rangers have deployed more personnel at the corridor ahead of its formal opening on Saturday to ensure full-proof security," an official told PTI.

He said the visiting Sikh pilgrims will be restricted to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and the rangers and police will ensure a complete security in and around the corridor and the gurdwara. Pakistan army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also said that no Indian pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib through the corridor will be allowed to move "an inch" from the restricted area.

Meanwhile, different departments of the Pakistan government held a meeting here on Thursday to finalise arrangements for the historic opening of the corridor on Saturday afternoon. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was also cleaned on Thursday for the occasion.

"All arrangements to greet the Sikh pilgrims and other guests coming here on the opening of the corridor have been finalised. We have made sure that the visiting pilgrims face no problem rather they cherish it as their memorable visit," Amir Hashmi, spokesperson of the Evacuee Trust Property Board which looks after the minority holy places in the country, told PTI.

"On Thursday we took a good number of Sikhs arrived here on visa to the Kartarpur Sahib where they performed their religious rituals," he added. Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee pardhan (president) Sardar Sarojeet Singh was also among the visiting pilgrims. "On the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib is the most beautiful thing for the Sikhs," Singh said.

He said the visiting Sikhs cannot explain their happiness in words. The Inter-Services Public Relations - the media wing of the army - and the Press Information Department have made arrangements for transporting the local and Indian journalists to the corridor on Saturday morning.

On Prime Minister Khan's statement about waiving USD 20 service charge from Indian pilgrims using the corridor and passport condition, the Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday clarified the government's position. "Pakistan government has waived off three requirements for Sikh pilgrims coming to Kartarpur on Baba Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary," Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.

"The Indian Sikh pilgrims will no longer have to carry their passports till one year, no registration is required 10 days prior to their arrival, the USD 20 service charge per pilgrim per visit on November 9 and 12 will also be waived," he added.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh is part of a jatha (delegation) that will pay obeisance at the gurudwara in Pakistan.

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