Pakistan Army spokesperson, negating Imran Khan's claim has now declared that passports would be needed for Indian Sikh pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Corridor, further fuelling the uncertainty. Pakistan PM had proclaimed that the Indian devotees would only need a valid identity to visit the revered Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. The statement by the Pakistan Army spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor comes a day after New Delhi asked Islamabad to clarify the requirements.
Maj Gen Ghafoor on Wednesday told a Pakistani news channel that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to use Kartarpur Corridor. "As we have a secure link, the entry would be a legal one under a permit on a passport-based identity. There will be no compromise on security or sovereignty," Ghafoor said.
On November 1, Imran Khan, announcing the completion of the Kartarpur Corridor on Twitter had stated that no passports would be needed to visit the holy shrine. He said that Sikh pilgrims from India would only need a valid ID and not a passport to travel to Kartarpur, however, according to the agreement a passport will be needed.
New Delhi has reiterated the concerns over looming terror threats and possible use of the corridor for anti-India activity. As per PTI, the government sources have said, “Our security is very conscious of pitfall, we made sure there is no compromise on the security of the Corridor." India is concerned that Pakistan backed Sikhs for Justice, Hafiz Saeed's Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terror outfits may use the corridor for propagating and orchestrating anti-India activities and may run nefarious campaigns like 20 20 referenda. New Delhi is miffed to see the use of Bhinderwala poster in official Kartarpur video produced by the Government of Pakistan and has raised the issue with Pakistan through diplomatic channels.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province. Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, Pakistan and India after tough negotiations signed a landmark agreement last week to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
The two countries decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine daily. India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational through the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims, except kids and elderly persons, will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.
(With PTI inputs)