Pakistan to spend Kartarpur income on Sikhs

Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi will issue additional visas to Sikh pilgrims for 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will spend the revenue generated by the Kartarpur pilgrimage on the welfare of the Sikh community and renovation of their holy sites, officials said.

Senior government officials told The Nation yesterday that Pakistan does not intend to make money from the Sikh pilgrims but contribute to their welfare.

“Yes, there will some income but we don’t want to use that money for projects other than those of the Sikhs themselves. The money will be used to renovate their worship places and their holy historical sites,” said one official.

Another official said the government will even add more money to the income generated from the Kartarpur pilgrimage for improved facilities in the corridor to be opened next weekend.

Pakistan is expected to earn up to $365,00,000 from pilgrims visiting the holy Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. The service fee from the pilgrims will be another source of foreign currency generation for Pakistan.

5000 pilgrims from India will travel to Pakistan through Kartarpur Corridor daily

“Five thousand pilgrims from India will travel to Pakistan through Kartarpur Corridor daily at Rs 1,400 per pilgrim cost for 5,000 pilgrims comes to Rs 7 million daily,” said an official.

India has asked Islamabad to reconsider its demand of charging $20 service fee a pilgrim. Through the service fee, Pakistan will earn $100,000 every day. As the rate of Pakistani currency, the per day earning will be around Rs 10.55 million. Since the pilgrimage will be allowed all 365 days a year, Pakistan will earn $ 3,65,00,000.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union Ministers Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Kaur Badal are among the 575 pilgrims who will attend the inaugural ‘jatha (group)’ to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib through Kartarpur corridor on November 9.

The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee with the support of the government of Pakistan has prepared a detailed programme, spanning over a week, for the visiting devotees for performing different religious rituals at holy Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan, particularly Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib.

A special ‘jatha’ led by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee visited Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, from July 30-August 1 this year to kick-start the celebrations of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

“To facilitate the 550th anniversary celebrations, the Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, will issue additional visas to Indian Sikh pilgrims, above the 3,000 limit allowed under the bilateral protocol for their visit to Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan from November 5-14,” a statement said.

Pakistan has also decided to issue 45-day multiple-entry visa to Sikhs having foreign passports rather than the Indian documents.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said that the work on Kartarpur corridor had been completed. He said the opening of the corridor will be held on time as committed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.



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