Updated: November 27, 2018 8:43:53 am
When the Kartarpur corridor is developed and operationalised, Indian pilgrims to the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib 2 km inside Pakistan can access the shrine directly, without a visa, and without having to enter Pakistan through the regular immigration points.
Sikh jathas from India to various gurudwaras in Pakistan, and Hindu pilgrims to shrines across the border enter via the Atari-Wagah border, and these pilgrims are granted visas under the September 14, 1974 India-Pakistan Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines.
Fifteen shrines in Pakistan and five in India are covered under this protocol. The shrines in Pakistan are: Gurudwara Shri Nankana Sahib (Rawalpindi); Gurudwara Shri Panja Sahib (Rawalpindi); Samadhi of Maharaj Ranjit Singh (Lahore); Gurudwara Shri Dera Sahib (Lahore); Gurudwara Janam Asthan (Lahore); Gurudwara Deewan Khana (Lahore); Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj, Singhanian (Lahore); Gurudwara Bhai Tara Singh (Lahore); Gurudwara of Sixth Guru, Mozang, (Lahore); Birthplace of Shri Guru Ram Das (Lahore); Gurudwara Cheveen Padshahi, Mozang (Lahore); Shrine at Sree Katasraj; Shadani Darbar, Hyat Pitafi (Sindh); Sadhu Bela, Khanpur and Mirpur Mathelo (Sindh); Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh (Lahore)
In India, the protocol covers Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti (Ajmer), Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (Delhi), Hazrat Amir Khusro (Delhi), Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani (Sirhind Sharif, Punjab) and Hazrat Khwaja Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir (Kalyar Sharif).
Under the agreement, pilgrims can travel only in groups and the number of groups that can travel each year is fixed. The pilgrims are given visitors visas.
Kartarpur is not covered under the Protocol, but with both sides deciding to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims visit the site, the protocol may have to be amended to include it under a separate visa-free category. Or there might be a separate bilateral agreement laying down the rules, numbers, and days of access to the shrine.
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