Why have a corridor if you want passports: Punjab CM slams Pak
Chandigarh, Mar 16: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday expressed disappointment at the new demands put forth by Pakistan over the Kartarpur corridor project. Singh said that Pakistan's demand that Indian pilgrims should carry their passports defeats the purpose of a special corridor.
Officials from both the countries held their first meeting to discuss modalities and a draft agreement on the corridor at Attari on March 14. On Friday (March 15), Pakistan laid down various conditions including restricting the corridor facility to Indian passport holders. Pakistan also rejected India's demand for allowing daily visits of pilgrims and put a cap on the number of daily visitors to 500, and that too in groups of 15. India had demanded that upto 5,000 pilgrims be allowed daily, and even approved a state-of-the-art passenger terminal building to handle 5,000 pilgrims daily.
"We disagree with some of the things Pakistan has recommended. First, we said 15,000 people should go. Second, we said you can not have passports. Why have a corridor if you want passports? The very fact that you have a corridor indicates it should have free access," ANI quoted Punjab CM as saying.
Punjab BJP chief Shwait Malik Friday lashed out at Pakistan for trying to put restrictions on number of pilgrims visiting the historic Sikh shrine in Kartarpur. India had on Thursday sought visa-free access for 5,000 pilgrims per day to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan during a meeting between officials of the two countries.
The governments of the two countries took a historic decision by agreeing to open the corridor to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Sikh faith's founder, in November this year.
Now, as per new condition put forth by Pakistan, Not only would the Indian pilgrims have to carry their passports along with them during pilgrimage but Pakistan has replaced visa with special permit which could require cumbersome documentation and police vetting. Some reports say thatt he special permit would also attract a fee which would put additional financial burden on faithful's.