In a U-turn, Pakistan has conveyed to India that it will charge the $20 facilitation fee from each pilgrim using the Kartarpur Corridor to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on Saturday, sources said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan last week announced that no fee would be charged from the pilgrims on the opening day of the corridor on November 9 and on Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12.
The Pakistan Foreign Office had confirmed on Thursday the waiving of the fee for the inaugural day and November 12, citing Prime Minister Khan’s remarks.
The corridor, connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in the Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, will be thrown open to the pilgrims on Saturday with India and Pakistan set to hold separate ceremonies to mark the occasion.
Sources said Pakistan has conveyed to India that people travelling through the Kartarpur corridor on Saturday will also have to pay the $20 fee. However, it was not immediately clear whether the fee will also be charged from those travelling in the official 550-member official jatha or delegation, they said.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, India and Pakistan after tough negotiations signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life. Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee, though India has requested Pakistan not to charge the Indian pilgrims.