Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday welcomed Pakistan’s “decision” to remove the requirement of a “separate permit system” for pilgrims to travel through the Kartarpur corridor. In a written statement, Singh “welcomed Pakistan’s decision to remove requirement of the separate permit system to allow pilgrims to travel to the Kartarpur corridor, as had been demanded by him”.
He also requested the waiver of requirement of a passport to facilitate devotees from the rural areas of the state.
“This is vital to ensure a smooth flow of pilgrims on important days during the celebration period (to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev) in November,” he said.
Singh said Pakistan agreed to 5,000 devotees a day as against its original proposal of 500, but there was a need ro raise the number more, at least on special occasions, in view of the huge demand expected from Sikhs and other devotees from around the world.
Earlier, Islamabad has removed pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla from the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandak Committee (PSGPC).
The development comes amid reports that India was planning to convey it strong concerns about the presence of pro-Khalistani leader on a panel associated with the project.
New Delhi had reportedly raised the issue to Pakistan during the first round of talks that was held on March 14 on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border. The second round of talks, which was originally scheduled on April 2 was apparently postponed after India raised objections to it.
In November 2018, Pakistan agreed to set up the border-crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur is located in Pakistan's Narowal district, about four kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.
Two days later, the Pakistani prime minister laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, around 125 km from Lahore.