Kartarpur corridor: Pakistan seeks limit to just 500 pilgrims a day and special permit to Yatris
New Delhi, Mar 15: India on Friday rued that Pakistan wants a limit of just 500 pilgrims a day on yatris crossing the border to visit shrine Kartarpur sahib and also asked for a special permit to be issued to each pilgrim, news agency ANI reported while quoting government sources.
India on Thursday sought visa-free access from Pakistan for 5,000 pilgrims per day to the historic Sikh shrine in Kartarpur. This was conveyed to the Pakistani delegation at a meeting yesterday to discuss the opening of a planned corridor for pilgrims between Punjab's Gurdaspur district and Kartarpur Sahib across the border.
India has approved state of the art passenger terminal building to handle 5000 pilgrims daily, 15,000 on special occasions. Pakistan has sought to put a limit this to only 500 pilgrims per day, ANI reported quoting government sources.
Pakistan assured visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, but Pakistan has asked for the requirement of issue of the special permit to each pilgrim. India said that this defeats the purpose of the dedicated corridor.
Pakistan has further reportedly stated that pilgrims must travel in groups of 15 and that no one be allowed to travel on foot.
India has also expressed concern over Pakistan encroaching on lands belonging to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib. India demanded that land be returned.
"India protested against the impropriety of arbitrarily depriving the Gurudwara (built on land donated by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh ji and other Sikh devotees) of its legal possessions," India reportedly said as per ANI report.
Thursday's meeting was the first meeting between an Indian and a Pakistani delegation since tensions between the two countries spiked after the terror attack in Pulwama, followed by retaliatory air strikes.
During the meeting, India wanted access for both Indians and people of Indian origin to the shrine, located where Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev spent the last years of his life.
The Indian delegation was led by S C L Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Pakistani team was headed by Mohammad Faisal, Director General (SA & SAARC) of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.