New Delhi: The signing of the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor, which was postponed by a day, took place on Thursday between India and Pakistan at Zero Line in a low-key ceremony. It was supposed to happen on October 22, but could not happen because of some logistic reasons.
For the signing of the agreement, the Pakistan delegation, led by foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal, had left for Pakistan’s Punjab province. “Reaching Kartarpur Sahib for the signing of historic Pakistan India Agreement on the opening of the corridor. PM Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Narowal, Pakistan on 9 November Insha Allah,” Faisal had earlier in the day said in a tweet.
The development comes after both the neighbouring countries have held a series of high-level talks for the operationalisation of the corridor ahead of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
Connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with the gurdwara at Kartarpur, the much-talked-about corridor is just about 4km away from the international border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province. This much-talked-about corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who just need to obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib
Ahead of the singing of the agreement, India has expressed concern that the neighbouring country did not grant a request to withdraw the $ 20 service charge on pilgrims visiting the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.
“It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of $20 per pilgrim per visit. Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the MEA said.
As per updates, over 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site on a daily basis. Just a week ahead of the celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the 4.2-km-long corridor will be completed by October 31. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor on November 9, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the event as a ‘common man’.