ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Thursday said that more than 10,000 Sikhs from India and other parts of the world would attend the inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor to be performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday.
“Under the 1974 agreement with New Delhi regarding religious pilgrims, about 5,000 pilgrims will come from India, whereas our missions abroad have issued the same number of visas,” Dr Muhammad Faisal said addressing his weekly news briefing in Islamabad.
He said the pilgrims from different countries including Canada, Britain, America, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, New Zealand and Australia will attend the inauguration ceremony.
The spokesperson said Kartarpur was a dedicated corridor for the people from India to come, pay respect and go back the same day. They cannot go anywhere else, he added.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said that as a special gesture on the auspicious occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, Pakistan had waived the condition of carrying passport for the celebrations and the requirement to convey pilgrim information 10 days prior to the entry through Kartarpur Corridor.
“The 20 dollar service charges per pilgrim per visit on the November 9 and 10 have also been waived and this has been conveyed formally to the Indian High Commission and the Indian government,” he said.
“We hope that the corridor will provide an opportunity especially to the Sikh community to come and observe the prayers at Baba Guru Nanak Sahib’s shrine,” he added.
To a query, the spokesperson said the opening of the Kartarpur corridor was the sole initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan which was then followed by the Indian side.
He regretted the Indian posture of not reciprocating to Pakistan’s peace overtures for resolution of all outstanding disputes including those relating to Kashmir, water, Sir Creek and Siachen.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said humanitarian nightmare in the occupied Kashmir was worsening with continuous military lockdown and communications blockade by India. He said eight million Kashmiri people had been cut off from the rest of the world.
When asked about the harassment of Pakistani diplomats in Afghanistan, he urged the Afghan government to fulfill its responsibility regarding protection of the members of Pakistani mission. He said the embassy of Pakistan in Kabul will be processing visa applications for medical emergency during the closure of consulate service there.
When asked to comment on Yemen peace agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson expressed the confidence that this will lead to reduction of tension in the region.
To a question, Dr Muhammad Faisal said dates for the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were being worked out. He said the visit will soon take place.