Kartarpur Corridor Pact to be Signed at 'Zero Point', India and Pakistan Officials Won't Cross Border
The signing of the pact, after protracted negotiations during which Pakistan refused to drop a $20 fee, will allow Indian pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Gurdwara where Guru Nanak spent the final years of his life.
Construction work underway at the Kartarpur Corridor. (Image: PTI)
Clearing the decks for the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, India and Pakistan will sign the final agreement on October 24 at the 'zero point' on the border near the Dera Baba Nanak. The choice of the spot to finally sign the agreement means that officials won’t have to cross over and also hints that both sides aren’t keen on holding a proper ceremony for it.
The signing of the pact, after protracted negotiations during which Pakistan refused to drop a $20 fee, will allow Indian pilgrims to take the cross-border corridor to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak spent the final years of his life. Both countries are expected to hold events on November 9 to mark the opening of their sections of the corridor, but there would not be any joint event, sources have said.
The Indian government had on Monday said it would sign an agreement with Pakistan to open the cross-border corridor to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur before November 12 despite Islamabad not ceding to the request of withdrawing the service fee of $20 on pilgrims.
“While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” the MEA had said.
From the very start, Pakistan has been insisting on levying a fee of $20 each pilgrim visiting Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara through the corridor. However, the Indian side has urged Islamabad to not charge the proposed fee.
Earlier in the day, Dawn had quoted Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammed Faisal saying that the issue of service charge has been resolved. The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The online registration of pilgrims has been delayed due to the delay in signing of the agreement. It will only start after the agreement is signed. Pakistan will take six days to process the request and four days before the date of travel, the Pakistani authorities will give the names cleared to travel.
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