ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment, Pakistan’s policy of promoting inter - faith harmony and Islamic traditions of respect for all religions, Pakistan and India signed the agreement for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The agreement was signed by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General (South Asia & SAARC), MOFA and Mr. S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Heads of the negotiating delegations of Pakistan and India respectively.
The agreement will facilitate visa free travel of 5000 pilgrims daily (to be enhanced on special occasions, subject to capacity), in groups or individually, on foot or by bus to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan, from dawn to dusk throughout the year, except on public holidays or for exigencies / emergencies, which will be notified to India in advance. Pilgrims will travel on valid Indian passport. Non resident Indians will also be required to carry their Indian origin card. Pakistan will charge USD 20/pilgrim/ visit as service charges.
Government of India will share pilgrim lists, ten days in advance. Pakistan will share the final list of pilgrims, 4 days in advance. Advance exchange of pilgrim list will facilitate pilgrims allowing them to make plans in advance and providing sufficient time to both governments for processing.
"The signing of the agreement, despite the challenging environment is unprecedented and reflective of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment towards facilitating Nanak Naamlevas to visit their most reverential place of worship in line with Pakistan’s Kartarpur initiative and groundbreaking ceremony last year," the Foreign Office stated.
As promised, Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 9th November 2019, well in time for the 550th anniversary celebrations.
BELOW IS FULL TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT:
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the facilitation of Pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Norwal, Pakistan.
WHEREAS the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Parties”, are desirous to provide easy access to the Pilgrims who are citizens of India or persons of Indian origin, hereinafter referred to as “Pilgrims”, to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal, Pakistan (hereinafter reffered to as Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib), being the final resting place of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as well as to mark 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji through the dedicated corridor developed across the International Boundary (with Zero Point at 54.38 meter from Boundary Pillar 42/7 towards Boundary Pillar 42/8 and 89.595 meters from Boundary Pillar 42/8 towards Boundary Pillar 42/7), hereinafter referred to as “Kartarpur Sahib Corridor”;
THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOWS:
i. The objective of this Agreement is to facilitate visa-free travel of Pilgrims from India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan and back to India, through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
ii. In order to implement this Agreement, the Parties shall establish requisite infrastructure including construction of a bridge at Budhi Ravi Channel, at the earliest possible, facilitation centers and, counter for running security checks and identity card for the facilitation of Pilgrims, as agreed, in their respective territories to facilitate safe, secure, smooth and hassle-free movement of Pilgrims.
iii. The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor shall be operational from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, throughout the year, except for closure on notified days or exigencies which will be informed to Government of India in advance. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall ensure that all Pilgrims, who enter Pakistan on a given day, return to India the same day, before dusk.
iv. Pilgrims shall travel on valid passport. The Pilgrims will include Indian passport holders as well as persons of Indian origin who shall carry the Overseas Citizen of India Card along with their passports.
v. The Government of India shall share with the Government of Pakistan, through designated nodal points, details of the Pilgrims 10 days prior to their entry through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The Government of Pakistan shall share the final list of pilgrims, 4 days before the day of the visit, with the Government of India. For this the nodal points will establish a mechanism.
vi. The Government of Pakistan may issue and identity card to facilitate the Pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib solely for the purpose of religious visit. The Government of Pakistan will charge USD 20 per pilgrims per visit, as service charges.
vii. 5000 Pilgrims shall be permitted to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on any given day, with any additional provision for more Pilgrims on special days including Gurpurab, Baisakhi, etc., subject to capacity.
viii. The Pilgrims may travel as individuals or in groups, as per their choice. The Pilgrims may preferably constitute a group of at least 15 people. Pilgrims may also travel through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on foot.
ix. It shall be the responsibility of the Parties to ensure that the Pilgrims do not carry any item from either side, mentioned in the list annexed to this Agreement.
x. The Agreement shall be implemented in accordance with the national laws, rules and regulations of the Parties. The Agreement does not affect the existing commitments under the Agreements entered between the Parties and obligations under International Law.
xi. The Parties shall designate nodal points on either side for sharing concerns, if any, arising out of the day to day operation of this Agreement.
xii. The operation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor may be suspended in case of exigencies or persistent violation of the provisions of this Agreement.
xiii. The designated nodal points between the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers will deal with emergencies and exigencies, including medical evacuation of the Pilgrims.
xiv. A Joint Workin Group (JWG) shall be constituted by the Parties for facilitating the smooth implementation of this Agreement.
xv. All differences arising from, or in connection with, the interpretation of this Agreement shall be amicably settled between the Parties through diplomatic channels.
xvi. This Agreement may be amended, supplemented or modified by written mutual agreement of the Parties.
xvii. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of signatures by the Parties and shall remain valid fo a period of 5 years, uncless terminated earlier. The parties may extend the duration of this Agreement for any period by mutual consent in writing.
xviii. Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by giving a notice of one month to the other party of its intention to terminate this Agreement.
In Witness whereof, the duly authorized representatives of the Parties have signed this Agreement at Zero Point Kartarpur Corridor on this 24th day of October in the year 2019, in two originals, in the English language.