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Conflicting reports coming from Pakistan: MEA ahead of Kartarpur Corridor opening 

Kartarpur gurudwara. (Picture courtesy: Pakistan Foreign Ministry) Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Nov 07, 2019, 03.45 PM (IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday addressed the media two days ahead of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

Kumar said that right before the inauguration, Pakistan is creating confusion. "Conflicting reports are coming in from Pakistan," he said. 

"Some times they say passport is needed and other times that it isn't. We think there are differences between their foreign office and other agencies. We have an MoU, it hasn't been changed and as per it, a passport is needed," Kumar stated.  

He added that the bilateral agreement that was signed between India and Pakistan needs to be followed. "The MoU needs to be followed and no changes can be implemented unilaterally," he said. 

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"We are aware that there is a bilateral document which has been signed between India and Pakistan which specifies the document to be carried by the pilgrims. Any amendment to existing MoU cannot be done unilaterally, it requires the consent of both the parties," Kumar told media today. 

Kumar said that passports will be required to visit the Corridor. 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 1 announced that his government had waived off two requirements for Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur - they won't need a passport just a valid ID and no advance booking was required.

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"For Sikhs coming for a pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived 2 requirements: i) they won't 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 the day of inauguration & on Guruji's 550th birthday," Khan had said in a tweet.

Pakistan then back-tracked from its promise when Pakistan Army spokesman Major Gen Asif Ghafoor in a major U-turn announced that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport.

"As we have a security 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," Gen Ghafoor said while talking on a private TV channel.