All-party team to meet PM on passport waiver for Kartarpur pilgrims: CM
Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday told the House that an all-party delegation from the state will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to take up with Pakistan the demand for waiving passport for Kartarpur pilgrims. Earlier, the House passed a resolution urging the Centre to ask Pakistan to do away with the condition that pilgrims crossing over through Kartarpur Corridor should hold passport and pay ₹20 fee.
The resolution was moved by jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa who said the condition of passport, fee and complicated registration process were troubling the prospective pilgrims.
“Such is the condition that if one has to visit Pakistan via Wagah border, no police verification is required but for Kartarpur visit through the corridor, five to six verifications are done by state and central intelligence agencies, causing unnecessary harassment to the applicants,” said Randhawa.
The resolution was unitedly supported by opposition AAP and SAD-BJP members with leader of opposition Harpal Cheema demanding that Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should pay the fee for the pilgrims.
Praising Randhawa for moving the resolution, SAD member Gurpartap Wadala urged the chief minister to lead an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue. The CM agreed to Wadala’s demand and asked the SAD members to also ask MP and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to take up the issue with the Centre before the all-party delegation visits so that a suitable environment is created. Lok Insaaf Party member Balwinder Bains also supported the resolution.
The resolution comes close on the heels of Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh’s demand that the governments of India and Pakistan waive the condition of passport for Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan through the Kartarpur Corridor.
Addressing a religious function organised by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak, Giani Harpreet Singh had said that the condition of carrying the passport as identity proof was the main reason behind the low turnout of pilgrims at the Kartarpur shrine.