New Delhi: A day after India urged Pakistan not to impose the proposed $ 20 fee on pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in the interest of devotees, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday made a personal appeal to the neighbouring country regarding the same. In a tweet, the Punjab CM said if Pakistan drops the service charge, the world Sikh community will be grateful to the country for this gesture.
“I appeal to @ImranKhanPTI to withdraw $20 fee imposed by @pid_gov on pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib to facilitate ‘khulle darshan deedar’ of the final resting place of SRI Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The world Sikh community will be grateful to you for this gesture,” he said in a tweet.
Earlier on Thursday, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in a press conference urged Pakistan not to impose the proposed $ 20 fee on pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in the interest of devotees and hoped that the agreement will be signed on time ahead of the inaugural opening of the corridor. Kumar said that after many rounds of talks with Pakistan, the country has reached an agreement on all issues except the service fee.
“After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we’ve reached an agreement on all issues, except service fee,” Kumar added.
Kumar further stated that Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $20 (nearly Rs 1,420) on all pilgrims. “We’ve urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees and also because this is a P2P initiative. We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event,” he added.
India has in the past a number of times asked Pakistan to ‘reconsider’ its decision to charge $20 as service charge from pilgrims visiting the gurdwara. However, Pakistan has remained firm on the issue. The neighbouring country again on October 15 told India that pilgrims will have to pay a service fee of Rs 1,400 ($20) for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
According to reports, Pakistan has agreed to India’s demand of letting the corridor being open to all of the followers of Baba Guru Nanak and not limiting it to Sikhs only, the draft agreement from Pakistan mentioned that the fee could not be waived because of the operational costs of the corridor.
On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor that connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur with Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.