Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday welcomed Pakistan's decision to remove the requirement of a separate permit system for pilgrims to travel through the Kartarpur corridor.
There was no announcement on the permit system in the talks between India and Pakistan on Sunday, however, Islamabad "in-principle agreed" to allow visa-free travel for Indian passport holders and OCI card-holders.
In a written statement, Amarinder “welcomed Pakistan's decision to remove requirement of the separate permit system to allow pilgrims to travel to the Kartarpur corridor, as had been demanded”.
He also requested the waiver of requirement of a passport to facilitate devotees from the rural areas of the state. The chief minister said he hoped the Centre would press Pakistan to accept other key demands being raised by him over the past several months.
These include a further increase in the daily limit of pilgrims allowed passage by Islamabad, it said. "This is vital to ensure a smooth flow of pilgrims on important days during the celebration period (to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev) in November," he said.
Amarinder said Pakistan agreed to 5,000 devotees a day as against its original proposal of 500, but there was a need to raise the number more, at least on special occasions, in view of the huge demand expected from Sikhs and other devotees from around the world.
He also thanked the Centre for persuading Islamabad to accede "to his request for passage of pilgrims on all seven days of the week". The corridor would not serve its full potential unless Pakistan agreed to become even more flexible to enable all the pilgrims visit the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara, he added.
Amarinder reiterated his demand for a special package from the Indian government to make the birth anniversary celebrations of the Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak historic. The second round of talks on the Kartarpur corridor took place Sunday between delegations of the two countries in Wagah on the Pakistani side of the border.
India handed over a dossier to Pakistan about individuals and organisations based in the neighbouring country which might try to disrupt pilgrimage to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, following which Islamabad assured that no anti-India activity would be allowed.
The government said Pakistan "in-principle agreed" to build a bridge to connect with the Indian side and to allow visa-free travel for Indian passport holders and OCI card-holders.
Updated Date: Jul 15, 2019 13:00:16 IST