Pakistan is believed to be looking at the “sensitive” issue.
New Delhi: Is Pakistan considering visa-free access for Indian Sikh pilgrims when they visit the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in November next year? Reports suggest this could be so. A large number of Indian Sikh pilgrims are due to visit the historic gurdwara in less than a year for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
According to TV reports on Saturday, Pakistan is considering visa-free access for Indian pilgrims but is planning to retain the right to refuse entry at the same time in the case of any individual. In fact, for the past few months, Pakistani media reports suggested a provision for visa-free entry for Indian Sikh pilgrims could be a distinct possibility next year. Pakistan is believed to be looking at the “sensitive” issue. According to the TV reports, Pakistan is compiling a 14-point draft of its plans for entry of Sikh pilgrims next year, which could be shared with India once it is finalised.
It may be recalled that Pakistan is also building a “corridor” with modern facilities for the benefit of pilgrims from the international border to the gurdwara located just a few kilometres away in Pakistans Punjab. India is similarly constructing a corridor too on the Indian side.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan had presided over a high-profile ceremony last month at the gurdwara to mark the beginning of the construction of the corridor on the Pakistani side. Thousands of Indian Sikh pilgrims had been given visas last month by Pakistan to visit the gurdwara where Guru Nanak had spent the last years of his life in the 16th century.