Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced two special waivers for the Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan to commemorate the 550th Baba Guru Nanak birth anniversary next week.
For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off 2 requirements: i) they wont need a passport – just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration & on Guruji's 550th birthday
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 1, 2019
He announced the waivers on his Twitter account on Friday. To facilitate the Sikh pilgrims, he asserted that the travellers from Kartarpur Corridor would not require a passport as long as they have a valid National ID card. He also waived the requirement for pre-registration of visitors 10 days in advance, and that no fees would be charged on the day of inauguration and Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.
Former Indian-occupied Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appreciated the decision. The decision has been made to facilitate the Sikh visitors, who mostly are poor farmers living in nearby border areas. Moreover, the anti-Pakistan segments in India had criticized Pakistan for making the revered religious festival as a source of earning revenues for Pakistan’s economy.
As per the agreement, Pakistan will charge $20 with each Sikh pilgrim travelling to Pakistan through Kartarpur Corridor. Other prominent Sikh leaders have also hailed the Prime Minister’s decision.
— Kultar Singh Sandhwan (@Sandhwan) November 1, 2019
Very commendable move.
— Gurpreet Singh Dhillon (@gurpreetdhillon) November 1, 2019
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 1, 2019
Social Media Concerned
Social media praised the decision of Imran Khan but groups of Pakistani social media users, however, have raised concerns about the waiving of passport requirements. They were sceptical of the second provision adding that under the tense security situation between India and Pakistan, the waiving off of passport requirement is equivalent to jeopardizing the security of Pakistan.
This is good but don’t put security of your country at risk. When Muslims go to Saudi Arabia for Umrah or Hajj they have to go through all security process required by Saudi govt
— Shahjhan Malik (She/Her) (@shahjhan_malikk) November 1, 2019
This is insane playing with the security of the country. Concession after concession for 70 years has lost half the country. But that’s the route IK is determined to try? When it’ll almost certainly end in disaster?
— Saad Gul (@NC_CyberLaw) November 1, 2019
Wonderful decision. Most Sikhs are farmers living in areas nearby border. It will be far easier for them to just come across by showing ID.
— Ammad Hassan (@ammad4147) November 1, 2019
The move, however, will cheer the thousands of Sikh pilgrims set to visit Kartarpur after Indian Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur had accused Pakistan of using Kartarpur Corridor for reaping profits under the garb of promoting religious tourism.
Earlier, The government of Pakistan has issued commemorative coins on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak on Tuesday. The move comes ahead of the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor scheduled on November 9th, which will also coincide with Pakistan’s Iqbal Day.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor, which will provide visa-free passage between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India. The Kartapur Corridor is aimed at reducing the hassles for Indian-Sikh pilgrims, who otherwise had to travel via Wagah Border, Lahore to Kartapur and Nankana Sahib.