Foreign Office has said that over ten thousand Sikhs from India and other parts of the world will attend the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor to be performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday.
At his weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said that under the 1974 agreement with New Delhi regarding religious pilgrims, about five thousand pilgrims will come from India whereas our missions abroad have issued the same number of visas. He said the pilgrims from different countries including Canada, Britain, America, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, New Zealand and Australia will attend the inauguration ceremony.
The spokesperson said Kartarpur is a dedicated corridor for the people from India to come, pay respect and go back the same day. They cannot go anywhere else.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said that as a special gesture on the auspicious occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, Pakistan has waived the pilgrims from carrying passport for the 550th celebrations, the requirement to convey pilgrim information ten days prior to the entry through Kartarpur Corridor and the twenty dollar service charges per pilgrim per visit on the 9th and 12th November. He said this has been conveyed formally to the Indian High Commission and the Indian government.
He said we hope that the corridor will provide an opportunity especially to the Sikh community to come and observe the prayers at Baba Guru Nanak Sahib’s shrine.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said the opening of the Kartarpur corridor was the sole initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan which was then followed by the Indian side.
The spokesperson regretted the Indian posture of not reciprocating to Pakistan’s peace overtures for resolution of all outstanding disputes including those relating to Kashmir, water, Sir Creek and Siachen.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said humanitarian nightmare in occupied Kashmir is worsening with continuous military lockdown and communications blockade by India. He said eight million Kashmiri people have been cut off from the rest of the world. He asked the world community to impress upon India to half blatant human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and move towards resolution of the festering dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.
When asked about the harassment of Pakistani diplomats in Afghanistan, the spokesperson urged the Afghan government to fulfill its responsibility regarding protection of the members of Pakistani mission. He said the embassy of Pakistan in Kabul will be processing visa applications for medical emergency during the closure of consulate service there.
When asked to comment on Yemen peace agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson expressed the confidence that this will lead to reduction of tension in the region.
To a question, Dr Muhammad Faisal said dates for the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are being worked out. He said the visit will soon take place.