ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday has said that Kartarpur Corridor between Pakistan and India will change the history of the region.
During a weekly news briefing, the FO spokesman said that no fee will be charged from the Sikh pilgrims coming to Kartarpur on November 9 and November 10. The passport condition for the travelers was waived off only for one year, he told.
Dr Faisal further said that Indian cricketer and politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has been issued visa to attend the opening ceremony of the corridor on November 9. The pilgrims from different countries including Canada, Britain, America, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, New Zealand and Australia will also participate in the inauguration ceremony, he told.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said the opening of the Kartarpur corridor was the sole initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan which was then followed by the Indian side.
The spokesperson regretted the Indian posture of not reciprocating to Pakistan’s peace overtures for resolution of all outstanding disputes including those relating to Kashmir, water, Sir Creek and Siachen.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a message shared on social media, reiterated that Sikhs from all countries will travel to the world‘s largest Gurdwara. “This Gurdwara will strengthen local economy […] many jobs will also be created in travelling, religious tourism and hospitality sectors,” he stated. “Buddhists have also been coming to visit different religious spots in Pakistan.”
The historic agreement aims to allow the intending Sikh pilgrims visit Baba Guru Nanak’s shrine – one of Sikhism’s holiest sites in Pakistan where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died in the 16th Century.
The Sikh minority in India has long sought easier access to the temple, which is just over the border in Pakistan.
5,000 pilgrims shall be permitted to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on any given day, with an additional provision for more pilgrims on special days including Gurpurab, Baisakhi, etc., subject to capacity.
Considering the agreement, the amount of revenue Pakistan can generate sums up to $100,000 every day and since the corridor will remain open 365 days of the year, it can potentially generate a direct income of USD36.5 million i.e. about Rs5.55 billion per annum.
The shrine is about 4 km (2-1/2 miles) from the border. The crossing and corridor - including a road, bridge over the Ravi River and immigration office - will replace a drawn-out visa process and circuitous journey through Pakistan.