5,000 pilgrims to be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib per day: Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims per day throughout the year to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, the Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office (FO) in a statement after the second meeting of officials of India and Pakistan said that experts of both sides also discussed technical details of the Kartarpur Corridor, including the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

“Pakistan has decided to allow 5000 pilgrims per day (to be increased as capacity allows) throughout the year except for closure on administrative or other basis which will be informed in advance,’ the statement said.

To further facilitate the pilgrims, Pakistan is building walkways to permit travel by foot from the start. Pilgrims may travel individually or in groups, preferably of 15 people each, it said.

The FO said that the decision to allow maximum pilgrims was taken in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment to operationalise the corridor for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

During their talks, both sides had in-depth and productive discussions on the proposed draft agreement and agreed to expeditiously finalise the modalities for operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in time for the 550th anniversary celebrations.

“Pakistan agreed to the Indian request to construct a bridge in the second phase after the 550 anniversary celebrations. The bridge will be constructed in phase 2 due to time constraints with a creek pathway constructed in the interim period,” said the FO.

The meeting built up on the discussion from the first meeting held in Atari, India on March 14, 2019, it said.

The Pakistan delegation planted a sapling to commemorate the spirit of cooperation and friendship of the Kartarpur initiative.

By Sajjad Hussain