Islamabad: Pakistan's Interior Minister Ijaz Shah told the National Assembly that his country is considering a a proposal for allowing passport-free entry for Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. During question hour, the minister said that at present, passport-free entry of Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur was not allowed in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two neighbouring countries. He said that the move will attract more visitors to his country.
However, he added, a proposal for entry without 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 can 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," Shah 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," he said. "All the activities in and around the corridor are monitored through surveillance cameras."
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. Guru Nanak Dev established the first Sikh community in Kartarpur in 1504 on the banks of the River Ravi.