Pakistan yet to clarify on passport for Kartarpur pilgrims, clear guest list
India and Pakistan are set to hold separate ceremonies on November 9 to mark the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, which will link Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur.
Pakistan is yet to extend full cooperation for facilitating the visit of Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur gurdwara, including clearing a list of dignitaries who will be part of the first “jatha” and clarifying whether pilgrims will need passports to undertake the journey, people familiar with developments said on Tuesday.
India and Pakistan are set to hold separate ceremonies on November 9 to mark the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, which will link Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Durbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur. Under the terms of MoU signed by the two sides on October 24, Pakistan is expected to clear the names of pilgrims four days before their journey.
The people cited above said India is yet to receive confirmation from Pakistan on a list of prominent Sikh leaders and other dignitaries who are part of the inaugural jatha or batch that is expected to undertake the pilgrimage on November 9, three days before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. Kartarpur is the Sikh guru’s resting place.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent tweet that Indian Sikh pilgrims wouldn’t require a passport to use the corridor has created “absolute confusion”, said a person who declined to be named. The MoU states all pilgrims have to have passports. “There has been no offer from Pakistan to amend the MoU in light of Imran Khan’s tweet. The pilgrims are therefore unsure of the documents they need to carry,” the person said.
On November 1, Khan tweeted: “For Sikhs coming for 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.”
Though several prominent dignitaries are part of the inaugural jatha, Pakistan has not allowed an Indian advance team to visit Kartarpur to assess the arrangements made there, the people said. Pakistan has also unilaterally decided the programme and timing of this jatha without considering India’s inputs, they added. Crucial information on matters such as medical facilities and security arrangements for pilgrims has not been shared with India, the people said. Pakistan’s refusal to extend full cooperation goes against the spirit of the pilgrimage, they said.