India on Monday agreed to sign an agreement with Pakistan to operationalise a cross-border corridor to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur but asked Islamabad to reconsider its service fee demand of $20 per pilgrim.
India has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee.
“It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continue to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit. Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
India will sign the agreement on October 23.
“In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019,” MEA added.
“While agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” it said.