KARTARPUR: A corridor for Indian Sikh — pilgrims travelling to a shrine in Pakistan will expose in early November, in time for one of the religion’s most sacred carnivals.
So, from India to Kartarpur, Pakistan, the visa-free border crossing would be inaugurated on Nov 9, just ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak on Nov 12, Pakistani project director Atif Majeed said on Monday.
The project is a rare fresh example of cooperation between the two nuclear powers, which came close to war almost in February following a militant attack on police in India-held Kashmir.
India revoked the special status of its portion of the disputed territory last month, exacerbating relations once again.
The Sikh minority community in India of northern state of Punjab and elsewhere has long sought calmer access to the temple in Kartarpur, a village just over the border in Pakistan. The temple marks the site where the baba guru Nanak died.
To get there, travellers currently must first secure hard to get visas, travel to Lahore or another major Pakistani city and then drive to the village, which is just four kilometres from the Indian border.
Instead of visas, the Sikh pilgrims will be honored by special permits to access the shrine.
Indian pilgrims will pay Pakistan $20, Indian 1730 rupees (as per current rate of Indian rupees) to use the corridor, which includes roadways, an 800-metre bridge over the River Ravi and an immigration office.
And the special thing is that up to 5,000 Indians will be permitted access daily, with plans to eventually double the capacity, Majeed said.