File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( AFP )
A timeline on the conflicting statements made by Pakistan on the requirement of passport by Sikh pilgrims from India visiting Kartarpur Gurudwara.
Pakistan, just days before the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, has taken another U-turn over passports being issued to Sikh pilgrims visiting Guru Nanak Dev's shrine in Pakistan.
Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of Pakistan Army said on Thursday that Sikh pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Gurudwara will be required to hold a passport. The latest development from Pakistan comes days after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Kartarpur pilgrims from India will not require a visa.
Only two days are left for the inauguration of the historic corridor, but it seems that the confusion over passport issue still prevails in Pakistan as the country has backtracked multiple times from its stance.
Here's a timeline on the conflicting statements made by Pakistan on the requirement of passport by Sikh pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Gurudwara.
October 24: Mohammed Faisal, Pakistan's spokesperson of foreign affairs, said that the pilgrims visiting India will have to carry passport which will be scanned but not stamped. He, however, said that visa will not be needed for the Indian pilgrims.
October 31: In a tweet, Pakistan PM had said that the country has waived off two requirements which includes allowing Sikh pilgrims to come without a passport. He added that the pilgrims will require to carry only a valid ID. Imran also said that pilgrims are no longer required to register for the visit 10 days in advance.
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
November 7: Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan Army's spokesperson told a private TV channel that the entry to the country for Kartarpur pilgrims will be visa-based. He added that the country cannot compromise on its security and sovereignty.
Earlier, diplomatic sources from Pakistan had said that Indian pilgrims have been exempted of all passport and visa requirements. They also added that the Indian side have been informed through official channels about the decision.
The Kartarpur Corridor connects Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur (India) to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur (India). Last year, both India and Pakistan agreed to inaugurate the corridor on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. The Guru Nanak shrine in Kartarpur is significant for Sikhs as their first Guru spent his last years there.