Despite repeated requests from Punjab chief minister captain Amarinder Singh, Pakistan has decided not to remove the proposed facilitation charge, which was deemed as "Jizyah tax" by many, on Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. In its final draft proposal on Kartarpur corridor sent to India on Monday, Pakistan has said that the pilgrims will be charged USD 20 for having 'khulle darshan deedar' in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
According to reports, the final draft proposal on Kartarpur corridor was given to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad by the Pakistani government. As per the draft agreement, Pakistan has proposed that the list of pilgrims will be exchanged at least 10 days prior to the visit through the corridor and then vetting of the names will be done at least four days before the visit.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had likened Pakistan's proposed facilitation charge on Indian pilgrims visiting the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara to 'Jizya or Jizyah' tax and demanded its immediate withdrawal. Jizya was the tax imposed on non-muslims living in a Muslim country and was abolished by Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar.
The Punjab chief minister also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention into the matter and asked him to pressurise Paksitan to withdraw the planned facilitation charge. He also suggested that the matter should be raised by the Indian External Affairs Minsiter during the bilateral meetings on the Kartarpur corridor.
India and Pakistan have decided to build a special corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district. The Indian side of the Kartarpur corridor, which is likely to facilitate the visa-free travel of Sikh pilgrims on both sides, is expected to be completed by the end of next month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor to Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on November 8, Union Minister Harsimrat Badal said. Modi will inaugurate the integrated check post on the Indian side, she said.
Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan is located across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. It was established by the Sikh Guru in 1522. The first gurdwara, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was built in Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak Dev is said to have died.