The much-awaited Kartarpur corridor will be opened for Indian Sikh pilgrims on November 9, Pakistan on Monday announced. Project Director Atif Majid announced the decision the maiden visit of local and foreign journalists to the proposed Kartarpur corridor in Narowal, some 125 km from Lahore, according to news agency PTI.
Majid said so far, 86 per cent of the work on the corridor has been completed and it will be opened on November 9.
Indian Sikh pilgrims had been eagerly waiting for the announcement as tension between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory.
Majid said the development work will be completed by next month.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistan is 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 up to the border will be constructed by India.
Both countries have agreed that Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh visitors per day into the country through the corridor, which will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947.
Project Director Majid said some 76 immigration counters have been set up to cater to 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India every day. And for 10,000 pilgrims visiting here daily, 152 immigration counters will be set up. He said that initially 5,000 Sikhs from India will come daily and later the number will rise to 10,000.
Tension between India and Pakistan has escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status. Reacting to India's move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.
Pakistan, however, repeatedly said that the opening of the Kartarpur corridor will not be hit by the current tension with India.
(With PTI inputs)