Kartarpur: Punjab CM Tweets to Pak PM Imran, Says $20 Fee Must Go
“Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $20 on all pilgrims. We have urged them not to do so,” the MEA said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday, 18 October, appealed to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to withdraw the USD 20 service fee imposed by his government on pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
In a statement later, Singh pointed out that a pilgrimage to the historic gurdwara, which was revered the world over as the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, was the fulfilment of a cherished dream for the entire Sikh community.
The imposition of the fee as well as other conditions like a mandatory passport and a 30-day prior online notice would obstruct the realisation of the dream of the pilgrims, many of whom are poor and cannot afford such a fee and also have no access of the internet, he said.
Agree With Pak on All Issues, Except Service Fee: MEA on Kartarpur
The Ministry of External Affairs on 17 October, said that an agreement has been reached with Pakistan on all issues, except the matter of the service fee.
Responding to queries on whether the agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor has not been finalised due to Pakistan's reported insistence on a service fee for the pilgrims, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said:
“The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is an important people-to-people initiative taken by India to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji... Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $20 (approximately Rs 1,420) on all pilgrims. We have urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees, and also because this is a P2P initiative. We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the much-awaited Kartarpur Corridor to Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, on the Indian side on 8 November.
The corridor will be thrown open to pilgrims in November this year to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. In a major initiative last November, both India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor.
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