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Kartarpur talks: Visa-free travel for 5000 pilgrims with Indian passport per day

Both India and Pakistan agreed to allow 5000 Indian pilgrims to visit the gurudwara every day.

Kartarpur talks: Visa-free travel for 5000 pilgrims with Indian passport per day
File Photo

The second round of India-Pakistan talks on modalities of Kartarpur corridor ended with both sides agreeing on visa-free travel for the Indian passport holders and OCI card holders for all seven days a week and Islamabad agreeing to build a bridge on its side.

Earlier, Pakistan was building a structure that could have caused flooding on the Indian side for which New Delhi had raised its concerns.

The Indian side was led by Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary SCL Das, who in a presser later said, “We conveyed concerns regarding possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak and adjoining areas in India as result of earth filled embankment road to be built by Pakistan.”

Both sides also agreed to allow 5000 Indian pilgrims to visit the gurudwara every day.

“The two countries have reached consensus on 80% issues regarding the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor while the rest of issues shall be addressed in the upcoming talks,” said Dr Faisal, Pakistan ministry spokesperson who represented the Pakistani side during the talks at Wagah.

Khalistan issue was raised during the talks by New Delhi with India handing over a dossier regarding it.

“Importance for ensuring safe and secure environment for the pilgrims was underscored. In this context, concerns regarding individuals or organisations based in Pakistan who may try to disrupt the pilgrimage and misuse the opportunity to play with the sentiments of the pilgrims were shared,” read a release from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Remember it has been a key issue and just before the talks Islamabad removed Gopal singh Chawla, a Khalistani who has been a close aide of 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, from top Sikh management body of Pakistan, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. 

India requested a consular presence in Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara to provide assistance to the pilgrims, with Pakistan assuring that no anti-India activity would be allowed.

It has also been proposed by India to Pakistan that 10,000 Indian pilgrims should be allowed to visit Pakistan under the 1974 Protocol during the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji that will be celebrated on November 2019.

Both sides are moving fast on the construction of the corridor. India is currently building 4 lane highway and passenger bus terminal that can handle 15000pilgirms per day, both expected to be built before the opening of corridor in November.