Akali Dal leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has slammed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government for charging a service fee of 20 US Dollars from Pilgrims who will be visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara through the Kartarpur Corridor which is set to open in November. The Minister has alleged Pakistan has made a business out of people's faith. Kaur also stated Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's statements on the fee are atrocious.
The $20 fee each charged by Pak for #KartarpurSahib darshan is atrocious. How will a poor devotee pay this amount? Pakistan has made a business out of faith. @ImranKhanPTI's statement that this fee will boost Pak's economy & result in earning foreign exchange is highly shameful. pic.twitter.com/a0sidEDIPZ— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) October 20, 2019
"The world’s largest gurdwara will be visited by Sikhs from across India and other parts of the World. This will become a major religious hub for the Sikh community, and will boost the local economy, result in earning foreign exchange for the country creating jobs in different sectors including travel and hospitality," Khan had said in social media post.
However, India asked Pakistan to reconsider levying a fee of $20 per Indian pilgrim and hoped that an agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur corridor will be inked soon between the two countries. Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said both India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the corridor except on the matter of the service fee. On October 18, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Arminder Singh also asked Pakistan to reconsider its decision to levy USD 20 on pilgrims in a tweet.
I appeal to @ImranKhanPTI to withdraw $20 fee imposed by @pid_gov on pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib to faciliate ‘khulle darshan deedar’ of the final resting place of SRI Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The world Sikh community will be grateful to you for this gesture.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 18, 2019
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib. The Kartarpur Sahib was established in 1522 by the Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistan will open the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor on November 9 as announced by its Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday, October 20. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind are expected to attend the inauguration of the corridor.
(With ANI inputs)