Kartarpur Sahib corridor pact signing unlikely tomorrow, say sources

New Delhi: India and Pakistan are unlikely to sign the agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on Wednesday October 23), as was agreed earlier. The next date for the agreement signing has not been confirmed yet, sources claimed.

The Indian government had on Monday said it would sign an agreement with Pakistan to open the cross-border corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur before November 12 despite Islamabad not ceding to the request of withdrawing the service fee of $20 on pilgrims.

“While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” the MEA had said.

From the very start, Pakistan has been insisting on levying a fee of $20 each pilgrim visiting Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara through the corridor. However, the Indian side has urged Islamabad to not charge the proposed fee.

Earlier in the day, Pakistani newspaper ‘Dawn’ had quoted Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mohammed Faisal saying that the issue of service charge has been resolved. The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.

The online registration of pilgrims has been delayed due to the delay in signing of the agreement. It will commence only after the agreement is signed. Pakistan will take six days to process the request and four days before the date of travel, the Pakistani authorities will give the names cleared to travel.

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said that the first Jatha of 550 people will travel to Kartarpur on November 9, the date of inauguration of the corridor. Badal met union home minister Amit Shah on Monday to finalise the programme for the inauguration of the corridor by PM Narendra Modi.