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India, Pakistan unlikely to sign Kartarpur agreement on October 23: Sources

The External Affairs Ministry had said on Monday that the Centre wants to finalise the agreement on October 23 in order to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor before November 12 in view of the demand of pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

India, Pakistan unlikely to sign Kartarpur agreement on October 23: Sources

India and Pakistan are unlikely to sign the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor on October 23 (Wednesday), sources told Zee Media. On Monday (October 21), it was reported that India and Pakistan had decided to ink the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor on October 23. 

The External Affairs Ministry had said on Monday that the Centre wants to finalise the agreement on October 23 in order to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor before November 12 keeping in mind the demand of pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

“While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” the MEA had said.

The MEA had described Pakistan’s proposed service fee as a “matter of disappointment” and had reiterated that India still wants Islamabad to withdraw the service fee. It is to be noted that India and Pakistan were set to ink the agreement on Saturday (October 19) but it got delayed over the issue of service fee.

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The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur. The corridor will 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. The corridor will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours, according to reports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the Indian side of Kartarpur corridor on November 9, 2019, and he will send off the first batch of pilgrim for the Sikh shrine situated in Pakistan. The prime minister will also attend a function at the newly-constructed terminal for Kartarpur pilgrims in Gurdaspur.