Chandigarh, July 14 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Sunday appreciated Pakistan’s decision to scrap the separate permit system required for pilgrims to travel through the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and allow OCI and PIO card holders.
The Chief Minister also requested waiver of passport to facilitate travel of devotees from the rural areas.
In a statement, Singh hoped that the Indian government would press Pakistan to accept other demands, being raised by him over the past several months.
These demands include raising of the limit imposed by Islamabad on the number of pilgrims a day to enable ‘khulle darshan’ to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
This was vital to ensure smooth flow of pilgrims on important days during the celebrations in November, he said.
Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 devotees a day against its original proposal of 500.
Singh said the number needed to be raised further, at least on special occasions, in view of the huge demand for permissions expected to come from Sikhs and other devotees from across the world.
He also thanked the Indian government for persuading Islamabad to accede to his request for passage of pilgrims on all seven days of the week.
The historic corridor would not serve its full potential unless Pakistan agreed to be more flexible on issues raised by him to enable pilgrims visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, he said.
Pakistan, which has also conceded India’s demand to build a bridge over Ravi river, has taken some steps forward today.
The Chief Minister reiterated his demand for a special package from the Indian government to make the celebrations truly historic and befitting.
The Kartarpur Sahib corridor, a gateway for pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, links India’s Dera Baba Nanak shrine in the Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province where Guru Nanak Dev spent his final days.
The place is highly revered by the Sikh community.