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Pakistan cannot make amendments unilaterally: India on Kartarpur passport issue

The Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened on November 9, links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan–the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev–with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur of Indian Punjab.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 7, 2019 5:44:04 pm
India to develop 4 km stretch of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib will be accessible without visa. (Express Photo/Jaipal Singh)

Reacting to Pakistan Army statement that Indian devotees using the Kartarpur corridor will need to produce a passport, India on Thursday said that conflicting reports are coming from Pakistan and it seems there are “differences between their Foreign Office and other agencies.”

The comment from the Army came just days after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that Indian Sikh pilgrims would only require a valid ID to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.

“Reports coming in from Pak are conflicting, some times they say passport is needed and other times that it isn’t. We think there are differences between their Foreign Office and other agencies,” Ministry of External Affair spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“We have an MoU, it hasn’t been changed and as per it passport is needed,” he added. India also said that Pakistan cannot make amendments unilaterally.

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Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor comments in Pakistani media come a day after India asked Islamabad to clarify its stand whether passport will be required by Sikh pilgrims visiting the Gurdwara in Kartarpur.

“As we have a security link, the entry would be a legal one under a permit on a passport-based identity. There will be no compromise on security or sovereignty,” Ghafoor told Hum News.

The Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened on November 9, links the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan – the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

On November 1, Prime Minister Khan said he had waived two requirements relating to passport and registering 10 days in advance for Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India.

This year marks the 550th birth anniversary year of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose birthplace is Sri Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor has been established to commemorate his birth anniversary.

Last week, the two nations signed a landmark agreement to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. As per the agreement, it has been decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine daily and the corridor will be operational through the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims, except kids and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.

(With PTI inputs)

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