Home / News / World /  Service fee remains key bone of contention in Kartarpur pact

NEW DELHI : India and Pakistan are yet to iron out the finer details of the pact that will allow Indian pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Narowal district.

One of the issues holding up the signing of the agreement is Pakistan’s demand to levy a $20 fee on every pilgrim using the land corridor. “The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is an important people-to-people initiative taken by India to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday.

“After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except on the matter of service fee. Pakistan insists on levying a fee of $20 (approximately 1,420) on all pilgrims. We have urged Pakistan not to do so in the interest of the devotees, and also because this is a P2P (people-to-people) initiative. We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event," he added.

The statement comes a day after Pakistan released an itinerary for the visit of the first batch of Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib during 5-14 November.

The first batch of pilgrims will reach the Wagah border on 5 November and then cross over to visit the Gurdwara Janam Sthan at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province. A second group of pilgrims will reach Wagah on 6 November.

The two groups, comprising about 2,500 pilgrims, will then leave on 7 November by a bus for the Kartarpur gurdwara where Guru Nanak spent the last years of his life.

On 8 November, the pilgrims will stay in Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab district where the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located. After attending the inauguration ceremony on 9 November, the pilgrims will return to Nankana Sahib where they will stay till 12 November.

The pilgrims will attend the “Bhog Akhand Path" kirtan at Nankana Sahib on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak before leaving for India in two batches on 13 and 14 November.

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