Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday (1 November) announced that Sikh Indians pilgrims travelling to Darbar Sahib gurdwara at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab won’t need a passport, only a valid ID, and no need to register 10 days in advance, reports Hindustan Time.
“For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I’ve waived off 2 requirements: 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 day of inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th birthday.” Khan tweeted.
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
When Pakistan first announced it will charge Indian pilgrims $20 fee to visit Darbar Sahib Gurdwara, it was called a ‘Jazia’, a tax that non-Muslim in India had to pay under many Islamic rulers.
However Indian government wanted a waiver of pilgrims’ fee but Khan announced only one-day relief in the $20 charge that has been a sticking point in the talks on operationalising the Kartarpur corridor that connects Darbar Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
To celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct the Kartarpur corridor to turn it into a visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will only have to obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by the founder of the Sikh faith.
On a daily bases 5,000 Sikhs will be allowed to enter Pakistan to pay respect and pray at Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
The corridor will be inaugurated on November 9 when a 575-member Jatha will cross the corridor to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Union Ministers Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Kaur Badal are among the first batch of pilgrims. Former cricketer and Congress MLA from Punjab Navjot Singn Sidhu has also accepted the invitation of his friend Imran Khan and will be present on the occasion