Pakistan waives off $20 service fee from any Indian pilgrim visiting Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib on November 9 and November 12

Pakistan on Friday officially confirmed that it will not receive the service fee of $20 from Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib on November 9 and November 12. While November 9 marks the inauguration day of the corridor, November 12 celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. On November 1, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that the service fee will be exempted for the pilgrims on both the days.

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Taking to Twitter, Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Mohammad Faisal, said, “We recall that as special gesture on the auspicious occasion of 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, PM Imran Khan had announced waiver of requirements of passport & registration of pilgrims 10 days in advance. Unfortunately, the Indian side has declined these facilitative measures. PM Imran Khan had also announced a waiver of service charges of US $ 20 on 9 and 12 November 2019. Abiding by the PM’s commitment, Pakistan will not receive any service charge from pilgrims on these two dates.”

Khan had announced the waive off of certain conditions for the Indian pilgrims who will visit Kartarpur of Narowal District. The Kartarpur Corridor will be inaugurated on November 9 ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Taking to Twitter, Khan had made the announcements–1) the pilgrims won’t need a passport but only a valid identity card and 2) they no longer have to register ten days in advance. 

“For Sikhs coming for a pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have 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 will be charged on the day of inauguration & on Guruji’s 550th  birthday,” Khan had tweeted.

Islamabad has levied a service fee of USD 20 (around Rs 1,420) on each pilgrim despite India’s repeated requests to reconsider the fee.

On Thursday, Pakistan tried to create confusion on the matter of documents required by pilgrims visiting Kartarpur. The Centre later clarified that Indians with a valid passport will be allowed to visit Kartarpur.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. 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 corridor will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours, according to reports.

The Indian side of the corridor will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the project on November 9, three days before the 550th birth anniversary Baba Guru Nanak.