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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Pact still not inked, Indian pilgrim registration for Kartarpur Corridor stalled

India has serious misgivings about certain conditions in the draft final agreement provided by Pakistan, including a $20 service fee for every pilgrim, and it was not immediately clear when the two sides will sign the pact.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2019 01:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Indian side of the Kartarpur Corridor, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to the shrine in Pakistan on November 8.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Indian side of the Kartarpur Corridor, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to the shrine in Pakistan on November 8. (File Photo)
         

Registration of Indian pilgrims intending to visit Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur couldn’t begin as planned on Sunday as the two countries were yet to sign an agreement on a cross-border corridor, people familiar with the developments said.

India has serious misgivings about certain conditions in the draft final agreement provided by Pakistan, including a $20 service fee for every pilgrim, and it was not immediately clear when the two sides will sign the pact.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the Indian side of the Kartarpur Corridor, linking Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to the shrine in Pakistan, on November 8. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Pakistani section of the corridor will be inaugurated on November 9.

The people cited above said that the online registration of pilgrims, which was earlier to start on October 20, could not commence as the agreement hadn’t been signed as yet. India has asked Pakistan to show flexibility and waive the service fee for pilgrims though it wasn’t clear when the two sides would be able to settle the unresolved issues.

India and Pakistan have agreed that the pilgrims will not need visas to use the corridor. Pakistan also accepted India’s request that people of all faiths should be allowed to use the facility. Both countries also agreed to build a bridge over a canal near the border but work on the Pakistani side has been slow. They also agreed that a service road would serve as the temporary crossing point.

India has completed a lot of infrastructure on its side, including a passenger terminal with 55 immigration counters, food outlets, parking lot and multi-layered security arrangements, that will be inaugurated on November 8.

Both countries had organised separate events in November last year to mark the beginning of work on the corridor that is set to be opened as part of the celebrations marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion who spent the final years of his life at Kartarpur.