India on Thursday said that pilgrims travelling to Darbar Sahib gurdwara at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab, where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak spent the last years of his life, will need to carry passports.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had last week said that Indian pilgrims won’t need passports, just a “valid identity proof.” But there were reports in the Pakistani media on Thursday, quoting a spokesperson of the Paksitani army’s media wing, that Kartarpur pilgrims will be allowed entry under a “permit on a passport-based identity”.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, said that the reports coming out of Pakistan are “conflicting”. “Sometimes they say passport is needed, other times it is not needed. We think there are differences between their Foreign Office & other agencies. We have a memorandum of understanding (MoU), it hasn’t been changed and as per it passport is needed,” Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Watch: ‘Conflicting reports from Pakistan,’ India on Kartarpur inauguration
India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct the Kartarpur corridor this year which marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The corridor is supposed to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak.
Khan also announced a waiver on the $20 fee for pilgrims for two days— on the opening of the corridor on November 9 and on Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12.
For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they wont need a passport – just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th birthday
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 1, 2019
New Delhi has been seeking a complete waiver of the charge that has been a sticking point between both the countries.
Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh visitors per day into the country through the corridor. This is the first visa-free corridor between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.
Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak. The portion from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.