New Delhi: The much-awaited Kartarpur corridor is set to be inaugurated for Indian pilgrims on November 9. As a result, Indian Sikhs will be able to visit the holy shrine of Kartarpur Sahib from November, a senior official of the Kartarpur corridor project announced.Also Read - Kartarpur: Pakistan to Add Religious Tourism Category to Online Visa
The announcement comes at a time when India and Pakistan have been warring over the abrogation of Article 370 that lifted the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating the state into two union territories. Also Read - India, Pakistan Agree on Visa-free Travel to Kartarpur Gurdwara; Differ on Visitors' Fee
According to Atif Majeed, Pakistan’s Project Director, Kartarpur Corridor, 86% of the corridor is complete and it will be opened days before the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev on November 11. Also Read - Kartarpur Corridor: Pak Insists on Charging Pilgrims 'Service Fee', India Urges Them to Reconsider
“Initially 5000 pilgrims will come daily from India but later we will allow 10,000 pilgrims per day,” he said and added, “Total 152 counters will be set up for immigration. The border terminal will be 350 meters from the zero point. We will provide airport-like facilities.”
Once opened, the corridor will connect Kartarpur’s Darbar Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur of Punjab allowing a visa-free entry and exit to Indian pilgrims, with the help of a special permit for Kartarpur Sahib.
Despite the escalating tensions between the two countries regarding the Kashmir crisis, Pakistan has repeatedly assured that it will not affect the opening of Kartarpur corridor. Additional security will be provided by provincial parliamentary Punjab Rangers.
However, Pakistan maintained inflexibility on charging a service fee from pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib during the last round of Kartarpur meeting. As a result, the talks had to be suspended without reaching a conclusion.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has also downgraded all other diplomatic ties with India and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.