‘Shameful, atrocious act’: Harsimrat Kaur Badal slams Pak over fee for Kartarpur

Chandigarh: Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal Sunday slammed Pakistan for charging a ‘service fee’ of $20 from pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara through the highly anticipated Kartarpur corridor, calling the act “atrocious”.

In a video shared on her social media handle, Badal said that it is “highly shameful” for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to think that the proposed service fee will boost the economy and questioned how he expected a poor pilgrim to pay the amount.

The Pakistani government had earlier said that it would charge a service fee of Rs 1420 from all the devotees who would want to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.

“How will a poor devotee pay this amount? Pakistan has made a business out of faith. Imran Khan’s statement that this fee will boost economy and is highly shameful,” she said. “The $20 fee charged by Pak for Kartarpur Sahib darshan is atrocious,” the minister further wrote on Twitter. She also accused the neighbouring country of making business out of faith.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, facilitating visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.

Meanwhile, the online registration of devotees visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur could not be started on Sunday as India and Pakistan have not yet agreed upon on a number of issues, including Islamabad’s insistence of charging service fee from each pilgrim, officials said.

India and Pakistan were supposed to sign a pact on Saturday on a few unresolved issues of the pilgrimage, but that did not happen yet.

“Since some issues are yet to be resolved, the online registration for the Kartarpur pilgrimage could not be started on Sunday,” an official privy to the development said.