Kartarpur corridor: ‘Hopeful’ India shares draft agreement with Pakistan

Days after the Kartarpur corridor hit a roadblock over pilgrimage fee, India shared a draft agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan.

“It is hoped Pakistan will show the desired flexibility and concur with the draft agreement so as to ensure that the corridor is opened in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak,” an unidentified official told Hindustan Times.

On September, in the third round of talks between both countries at Attari, Pakistan demand to charge pilgrims a service fee to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

On Thursday, Islamabad had announced that it would charge pilgrims USD 20 (approximately Rs 1,420.61) per pilgrim for visiting the gurdwara, PTI had reported. The country’s foreign ministry said that the fee was meant to cover 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the costs. India had described it as Pakistan’s ‘inflexible attitude’.

Pakistan had also expressed its unwillingness to allow Indian consular or protocol officials at Kartarpur gurdwara premises.

In the third round of talks, both sides, however, agreed on visa-free travel of pilgrims and allowing 5,000 of them to use the corridor every day.

It was further decided that the Kartarpur corridor would be operational throughout the year, seven days a week.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

This was the second meeting on the Kartarpur corridor after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, triggering fresh tension between the two neighbours.