In a massive U-turn, Pakistan Army has said that pilgrims from India would require a passport to use Kartarpur Corridor. DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor on Wednesday said that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to use Kartarpur Corridor. The comments by Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor came a day after India asked Pakistan to clarify whether passport will be required by the Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur. Earlier, ahead of Kartarpur corridor launch on November 8, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last Friday had announced major relief for Indian pilgrims saying they won't need a passport. He had said that the pilgrims could visit the Gurdwara with any valid identity document.
"For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they won’t need a passport - just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance," Khan had tweeted.
However, it seems Pakistan Army did not get the memo (or the tweet).
"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," Military spokesman Ghafoor told a private TV channel.
The much-awaited corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab, with the gurdwara at Kartarpur, just around four kilometres from the international border, located at Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province.
The year 2019 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.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations signed a landmark agreement last week to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine daily. India and Pakistan have also decided that 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)