The Kartarpur Corridor, which opened last November to connect the Indian border with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, 4.7 km inside Pakistan, allows Sikh pilgrims to travel there without a visa and return on the same day.
Pakistan is considering a proposal for allowing Indian pilgrims to enter the Kartarpur corridor without a passport in order to attract more visitors to the revered Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah informed the country’s Parliament.
In November last year, Pakistan and India separately inaugurated the historic corridor on their sides of the border. The corridor provides the shortest route to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the revered Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district, where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.
Interior Minister Shah told the National Assembly during the Question Hour on Friday that at present, passport-free entry of Indian pilgrims to the Kartarpur corridor was not allowed in accordance with a memorandum of understanding signed between Pakistan and India, the Express Tribune reported.
However, he added, a proposal for giving the entry without a passport, in order to attract more visitors, was under consideration, for which detailed input might be sought from the foreign affairs ministry.
As per the procedure, pilgrims could visit the corridor from dawn till dusk after producing Indian passport or overseas citizen of Indian-origin card along with the passport of resident country, he said.
He added that the movement of Indian visitors was regulated through a combination of physical and electronic security systems by the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) along with other law-enforcement agencies.
Visitors are strictly kept inside the Gurdwara complex by using turnstile gates to avoid their exit toward the Pakistani side. All the activities in and around the corridor are monitored through surveillance cameras,” he was quoted as saying.
Details of issuance of the national identity cards to foreigners was also presented in the House. The interior ministry said that 1,637 foreigners were issued the national identity cards during 2009-2012, while 474 were issued the cards from 2013 to 2018.