Pakistan has not been cooperating with India on the Kartarpur corridor inauguration “which is against the spirit of the pilgrimage”, sources told India Today TV.
While both sides have been working to complete the project on time, there have been a lot of differences in the way. The two sides — India and Pakistan — have approached the issue of allowing Indian pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib through the corridor, an issue of great sentimental value to the Sikh community in India and across the globe.
A tweet by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday unilaterally announcing exemption of the 20$ fee for pilgrims on inauguration day and no requirement of passport as the document, has caused much confusion for the Indian side.
“For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off two requirements: i) they won’t need a passport-just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee to be charged on day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday,” Imran Khan tweeted.
Sources said there is “absolute confusion” created by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tweet that no passports will be required to undertake the pilgrimage.
“This requirement is, however, mentioned in the MOU signed. There has been no offer from Pakistan to amend the MOU in light of Imran Khan’s tweet. Pilgrims are therefore unclear on the documents they need to carry,” sources said.
The MoU signed between India and Pakistan on October 23 clearly said that passport would be required and a fee of 20$ would be charged. Any change in that, even for a special occasion, should not have been done without informing the Indian side.
The other serious concern for India is the fact that advance teams from India were not allowed to go to Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, to do a reconnaissance and see the preparations since important dignitaries would be visiting. As per protocol, an advance team has to visit to do security checks but India has not been permitted that.
“Several prominent dignitaries are travelling as part of inaugural jatha. However, Pakistan has not allowed any advance team from India to visit Kartarpur Sahib to confirm the arrangements made,” a source told India Today TV.
India has also not been informed of the “critical” logistics arrangements such as medical facilities and security arrangements for the pilgrims.
An important day for the believers of the faith, many prominent Sikh leaders wish to travel to Pakistan to take part as the inaugural jatha undertaking the pilgrimage on November 9 through Kartarpur Sahib corridor but sources say that Islamabad is yet to send the confirmation on the list sent by India.
“Even on the final inauguration programme, Pakistan has been taking unilateral decisions regarding timing of the inaugural jatha. India has not been consulted. For a religious event that is bilateral in nature, Pakistan has not taken into account India’s inputs,” government sources told India Today TV.
The Kartarpur Corridor will be inaugurated on November 9, connecting Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, around 4.5 km from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.