CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI : India and Pakistan on Thursday finally signed an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor paving way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to pay a visa-free visit to the holy Darbar Sahib shrine in Pakistan. The 20 US dollar fee dispute, however, remained. The historic agreement was signed at Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. Pakistan has assured India of making sufficient provision for langar (community kitchen) and distribution of prasad.
The Indian side was led by joint secretary internal security in Ministry of Home Affairs SCL Das and Pakistan delegation was headed by Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Faisal, who is also the Director General (South Asia). Representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Home Affairs along with an official of Punjab Government were present during the signing ceremony.
After the signing of the agreement, Das said, “Indian devotees of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the Kartarpur corridor. The travel will be visa-free as pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport.” While the agreement was signed, the Indian delegation again urged their Pakistani counterparts to reconsider its insistence on levying the fee. As India remains ready to amend the agreement accordingly.
The historic moment when India and Pakistan signed the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor pic.twitter.com/M24VUBpNt1— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) October 24, 2019
Under the agreement, the pilgrims would come in the morning and return in the evening after visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. At least 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site every day without a visa. On Wednesday, both countries set-up their respective tents on the zero line on the international border at Dera Baba Nanak to sign the agreement.