New Delhi: In a huge relief for pilgrims travelling to Guru Nanak’s shrine, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday waived off two of the requirements for Sikh devotees coming to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara from India.
Keeping the sentiments of Sikh pilgrims in mind, Pakistan said that passports will not be required to visit the holy shrine. Earlier, although the agreement sought to visa-free access, it was mandatory for visitors to carry their passports.
While earlier pilgrims would have to register themselves 10 days in advance to visit the Kartarpur shrine, however, Pakistan on Friday struck off the early registration. It must be noted that the bookings had begun on October 24, and pilgrims were to be notified with the details of their travel three to four days prior to the visit.
Further, Pakistan was adamant on levying a $20 service fee on the pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, despite India reiterating its request that it is not in the interest of pilgrims. However, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan mentioned that on the inauguration day and on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, the fee will be waived off.
Announcing that waiver, Pakistan PM Khan said, “For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I’ve 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 to be charged on the day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday.”
On October 28, the Congress constituted a delegation that will accompany Dr Manmohan Singh to Kartarpur Sahib on the inauguration day. The delegation of the Congress includes Captain Amarinder Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, RPN Singh, Asha Kumari, R Surjewala, Deepender Hooda and Jitin Prasada.
The development came after former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh accepted Pakistan’s invitation to the inaugural ceremony of the landmark Kartarpur Corridor.