Abb Takk News

Pakistan, India Likely to Sign Kartarpur Agreement on Oct 24

ISLAMABAD: The agreement of the Kartarpur Corridor between Pakistan and India will likely to be signed on October 24, sources said.

According to media reports, the signing of the agreement between the two countries is postponed by a day due to some reason and the ceremony may now take place on Thursday.

Sources said that the agreement could take place at the zero point near the site of the Kartarpur corridor.

The corridor is a rare example of cooperation and diplomacy between the two South Asian rivals

An official handling internal security at India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, C. L. Das would meet Director-General of South Asia Dr Muhammad Faisal along the border to sign the agreement.

Under the agreement, at least 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site every day. India will share the list of pilgrims 10 days in advance and Pakistan will verify and finalise it four days before the visit.

The corridor, which would provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to Kartarpur Gurdwara, is scheduled to be opened on Nov 9 ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji falling on Nov 12.

Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh was invited to the inaugural ceremony but he only agreed to come over as an ordinary pilgrim.

On October 21, the Indian government conveyed its willingness to sign the Kartarpur Corridor agreement on Oct 23, but due to some reason, the signing has been delayed by a day.

In a statement on Monday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said New Delhi took initiatives to “put in place the state of art infrastructure” and open the corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

“In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib … [the Indian] Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019,” read the statement.

New Delhi, however, maintained its reservations over the $20 per pilgrim fee proposed by Pakistan.

“[The Indian] Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” read the MEA statement.

India urged Pakistan to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims and said it would be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time.

Pakistan handed the final draft of the proposed bilateral agreement to India on October 11.

Islamabad has also accepted New Delhi’s demand to allow devotees of other faiths – Hindus, Christians, Zoroastrians etc – to visit Baba Guru Nanak Devji’s final resting place.