Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter on Friday to announce that his government has waived off two key requirements for Indians going for pilgrimage to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
Imran Khan said that Indian pilgrims will no longer be required to bring their passport and only a valid ID will be needed for entering Pakistan for Kartarpur pilgrimage.
Second, the visiting Sikhs will no longer need to register ten days in advance, Imran Khan said in a tweet.
He also said that no fee will be charged on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 and on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12.
“For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they won’t need a passport – just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th birthday,” Imran Khan tweeted.
This comes as the first batch of 1,100 Sikhs from India already arrived in Lahore on Thursday for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak.
“The first batch of 1,100 Sikhs crossed over here from Wagah Border to attend celebrations of 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib,” Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) spokesperson Amir Hashmi said.
He said the visiting Sikhs brought “Golden Palki” along with them.
The ‘Nagar Kirtan’ (procession) was received here by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, ETPB chairman Aamer Ahmed and Pakistan Gurdwara Sikh Parbhandik Committee president Satwant Singh at Wagah Border.
The ETPB said a special exemption of tax has been sought from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the ‘Golden Palki’.
It said special arrangements have been made for the pilgrims including catering, medical camp and transportation.
“Upon their arrival the Sikhs left for Nankana Sahib. During their stay they will visit other gurdwaras as well in Punjab and take part in the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9,” it said, adding that the ‘Golden Palki’ will be installed at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the Kartarpur Corridor ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12.
India and Pakistan last week signed the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor that will allow Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free visit to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine of the Sikh religion’s founder Guru Nanak Dev in Pakistan, notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir.
The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.
The corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
India and Pakistan signed the agreement after three rounds of tough negotiations despite bilateral relationship witnessing a chill recent years. The ties touched a new low when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August following which Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be visa-free. Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee, though India has requested Pakistan not to charge the Indian pilgrims.
(With inputs from PTI)