Detailed discussion was held between the two sides on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor where the Indian side was led by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Pakistan delegation led by Director-General (South Asia and SAARC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Difference between India and Pakistan continue on a few key issues related to the Karatpur Sahib Corridor. At the third round of talks on the modalities for operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor held today at Attari, Pakistan has insisted on charging a service fee for allowing pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, sources told Financial Express Online. New Delhi had in earlier rounds stated that such a move was not agreeable and it will hinder smooth and easy access through the Corridor.
Detailed discussion was held between the two sides on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor where the Indian side was led by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Pakistan delegation led by Director-General (South Asia and SAARC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During discussions, Pakistan insisted that India reconsider its position on the presence of Indian Consular or Protocol officials at the Gurdwara premises.
According to sources, there has been significant progress in building state-of-the-art infrastructure, this includes passenger terminal on the Indian side. This passenger terminal is expected to handle over 15,000 pilgrims in a day and the completion date has been set for October.
Also, 4-lane highway up to the International Boundary on the Indian side is on schedule and is expected to be finished by September end. All the facilities are expected to be completed ahead of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Devji and the pilgrims will be able to use the corridor.
Both sides have agreed to have an agreement on visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims. This according to sources will be without restrictions based on their faith and also persons of Indian origin holding OCI card too can visit.
It has been decided that around 5,000 pilgrims can visit Holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the corridor every day, also it has been agreed that in case of additional pilgrims over and above the figure of 5,000, will be allowed on special occasions. And Pakistan has agreed to increase the number allowed on special occasions.
Today, both countries have agreed that the Corridor will be operational throughout the year, seven days a week. “The pilgrims will now have to choose whether they want to travel as a group, individuals or on foot,” said a source. Also, a temporary service road is being built, till the bridge to be built at Budhi Ravi Channel is completed.
While agreeing to ensure a secure environment for the movement of the pilgrims, India has once again urged Pakistan to allow protocol officers to accompany the pilgrims every day. Also, a direct line of communication between Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers will be used in case of emergency evacuation procedures, especially medical emergencies.