Chandigarh, November 18, 2019 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to waive the requirement of Passport identification to access the Kartarpur Corridor besides asking him to do away with the $ 20 service fee being levied on pilgrims.
In a statement here, the SAD President said though the Pakistan Prime Minister had announced that a Passport would not be needed to gain access to the Kartarpur Corridor by Indian pilgrims and that any valid identify would suffice, the Pakistan army had clarified later that entry would be given on the basis of a passport based identity only.
Mr. Badal asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to instruct Pak government officials to accept any valid identity except Passports from devotees. “Majority of people in the rural areas do not have passports. Moreover making a passport for this visit alone amounts to an additional expenditure of around Rs 2,000.
Most of the devotees plan to travel in family groups and this means an average family would have to spend at least Rs 8,000 on preparation of passports besides additional expenditure on reaching Dera Baba Nanak. If the $ 20 service charge is also taken into account an average family of four would have to spend around Rs 15,000 to visit Sri Kartarpur Sahib. This is beyond the reach of under privileged sections of society”.
Mr Badal said even presently passport was not needed except for identification purposes as no visa was being issued for the visit to Kartarpur Sahib. He also urged the Pak PM to waive off the $ 20 service fee being charged from pilgrims going to Sri Kartarpur Sahib through the Corridor.
He said the service fee was unjustified as it was against the basic tenets of Sikhism which stipulated that there should not be any obstacle in the way of ‘darshan’ of ‘Guru ka ghar’. He said removal of this fee would be in keeping with the spirit behind establishment of the Corridor to allow ‘khule darshan deedar’ of the last abode of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.
Mr Badal told the Pak Prime Minister that he had received several representations from people, especially the old, to do away with both the passport and $ 20 service fee requirements. “Doing away with both these clauses will facilitate the pilgrimage of lakhs of devotees to Sri Kartarpur Sahib.
There is tremendous enthusiasm among people to undertake this journey and thousands of people have visited Dera Baba Nanak since the opening of the Corridor in hopes of visiting Sri Kartarpur Sahib. I urge you to do away with both the clauses to allow for smooth and easy travel as well as realize our hope of transforming the Kartarpur Corridor into a Corridor of Peace”, the SAD President added.