Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to remove requirement of separate permit system to allow pilgrims to travel through the historic Kartarpur Corridor, as had been demanded by him, but requested waiver of passport also to facilitate devotees from the rural areas of the state.
A government statement said the CM hoped Government of India would press Pakistan to accept other key demands being raised by him over the past several months. These include further increase in the daily limit of pilgrims allowed passage by Islamabad to enable ‘khulle darshan’ to mark the historic occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev. This was vital to ensure smooth flow of pilgrims on important days during the celebration period in November, he said.
Pakistan has now agreed to 5,000 devotees a day as against its original proposal of 500, but Capt Amarinder said the number needed to be further raised.
The Chief Minister, however, hailed Pakistan’s decision to allow OCI and PIO card holders, as urged by him, in an earlier letter to the Government of India on the issue. It may be recalled that in their MoU, Pakistan had suggested allowing only Indian Yatris. He also thanked the Centre for persuading Islamabad agree to passage of pilgrims on all seven days of the week, the statement added.
The historic Corridor would not serve its full potential unless Pakistan agreed to become even more flexible with regard to the various issues raised by him to enable all the pilgrims visit the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, he added.
Pakistan, which has also conceded India’s demand to build a bridge over Ravi river, has taken some steps forward, the Chief Minister appreciated, but urged the Centre to engage even more closely with them to secure their agreement on other demands he has been putting forth.