Pakistan will be opening the much-waited Kartarpur Corridor on November 9th 2019, says the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. The proposed corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district, with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Both India and Pakistan will be part of the construction process, with Pakistan 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 will be constructed by India. Other than connecting the two countries, the proposed corridor will also be facilitating visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will just have to obtain a permit to cross into Pakistan. 

The world’s largest Gurudwara to be visited by Sikhs across India and other parts of the World hopes to help boost the local economy, resulting in earning foreign exchange for the country creating jobs in different sectors including travel and hospitality, said Imran Khan. “Religious tourism is on the rise in Pakistan, earlier Buddhist monks visited various sites for religious rituals followed by the opening of the Kartapur Corridor,” he added.

But Pakistan still has to respond to India on levying a service fee

The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur
The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur (via Flickr/Umer Saud)

Even though no set date has been fixed so far for the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said India and Pakistan had reached agreement on many issued expect on the matter of the service fee (Pakistan insisted on levying a fee of USD 20 on all pilgrims).

He further added on by saying that “India has urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees, as this a people to people initiative. We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event”. 

India and Pakistan have held a series of high-level talks for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Corridor. Even though most issues have been worked out, the issue of service fee still seems to remain. With no response from Pakistan on the same, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the project on November 9.

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