Kartarpur Corridor: Pakistan to permit visa-free access to 5000 pilgrims per day
Kartarpur Corridor: Pakistan has agreed to allow visa-free travel of 5,000 Sikh pilgrims per day through the Kartarpur corridor to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. The decision was taken after the second round of talks between officials of India and Pakistan at Wagah border on July 14, 2019.
Kartarpur Corridor: Year-long access to 5000 pilgrims per day
During the meeting, it was decided that Indian passport-holders and OCI card-holders will be allowed visa-free travel to the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. Pakistan agreed to allow 5,000 pilgrims per day to visit the holy Gurdwara throughout the year. The pilgrims will be allowed to travel both in a group or as individuals. They will also be allowed to go on foot.
Kartarpur Corridor: Security, Technical Details
India and Pakistan also discussed technical details of the crucial Kartarpur Corridor such as alignment and about the presence of Khalistan supporters in Pakistani territory. India raised concerns about Pakistan-based individuals and organizations who could try to disrupt the pilgrimage. Pakistan assured India that it would not allow any anti-India activity using the corridor.
Earlier, Pakistan wanted to limit the number of pilgrims travelling visa-free to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib to 500-700 per day. Pakistan had also wanted to levy a fee. However, India requested Pakistan to allow visa-free travel to 5000 pilgrims per day and an additional 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions, with no restriction on faith.
India has sought consular presence in the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to assist the Indian pilgrims. India has also urged Pakistan to allow Delhi’s ‘Nagar Kirtan’ to travel to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province in July and during October-November 2019 as part of the celebrations to mark Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th birth anniversary. The Indian team in the second round of talks comprised delegates from the External Affairs and Home Affairs Ministry.
First round of talks on Kartarpur Corridor
India and Pakistan conducted the first round of talks on the Kartarpur Corridor at the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on March 14, 2019, exactly a month after the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Kartarpur Corridor: Background
The Indian government in November 2018 decided to build the Kartarpur Corridor between India’s Gurdaspur district and the holy Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, resting place of Guru Nanak, to mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in 2019. India and Pakistan both agreed to build the corridor on their respective boundaries to allow Sikh pilgrims visa-free travel to the holy shrine.
The Indian side of the corridor, which will include 4 lanes, will be built by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The construction work on the corridor is half-way complete, as per the Home Ministry. The work is expected to be fully completed by October 31, a week before the celebrations are expected to begin. The projected is being funded by the Union Government.