India and Pakistan discussed the key issue pertaining to Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday, wherein a decision of allowing 5000 pilgrims have been taken. The highlights of the meeting suggest that the pilgrims traveling to the Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan will also be provided with free pick and drop, medical services, and lunch during the yatra. Pakistan's Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has also said that they will be spending about 10 lakhs of Pakistani rupees to ensure the safety of pilgrims. This comes after the Punjab CM Amrinder Singh, sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to pressurize Pakistan into withdrawing its proposal to impose a service charge on the passage through the Kartarpur corridor.
The special meeting on Kartarpur corridor was held at Lahore in between the two countries. The two sides agreed that the Indian citizens will be given a corridor card at the beginning of the yatra. Also, their passports would be submitted to the management and would be given back to them upon their return. Once the corridor is open the Sikh pilgrims will be allowed to directly access the 150-year-old historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev passed away in 1539.
Pakistan's Evacuee Trust Property Board or ETPB also said, "Daily, 5000 Yatri will visit the Gurudwara. Timings will be from Namaz a Fajr to Namaz a Maghrib.” In addition, free medical services will be provided to the yatris, and rangers will always be deployed for their security. They also added that “Noble Global Company will provide pick and drop services from/to a fixed point. Lunch would be served free of cost to all the yatris. Rs 10 Lakh per day will be spent for Yatris' lunch at the cost of Rs 200 per person." The Kartarpur corridor along the India-Pakistan border is nearly four kilometers away from Gurdaspur in Punjab, India.
Earlier, the chief minister of Punjab, Amrinder Singh had written a letter to the prime minister, suggesting that the Ministry of External Affairs should take up the matter of ‘service charge’ in the bilateral meetings with Pakistan. He said, Pakistan's insistence on service charges would impose a significant financial burden on the lakhs of pilgrims seeking darshan of the gurdwara, many of whom may not be so well-off. Amarinder Singh had also underlined the historic importance of the Kartarpur corridor, stating that it should be opened this year as part of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev in November. Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev in 2018. (With Agencies Inputs)