Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday requested Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to withdraw a proposed facilitation charge of $20 (Rs 1,422) for visitors to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.
“I appeal to Imran Khan to withdraw $20 fee imposed by Pakistan government on pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib to facilitate ‘khulle darshan deedar’ [free access] of the final resting place of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” the chief minister tweeted. He told Khan that the Sikh community would be grateful to him for the gesture.
On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that an agreement had been reached with Pakistan on every matter related to the project except the question of the service fee.
The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur in India’s Punjab state to the gurdwara in Kartarpur, where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev is supposed to have settled after his travels. The two countries are striving to complete the project before Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 9. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel to the pilgrimage site without visa.
Singh had earlier urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pressure Pakistan into withdrawing the proposed fee, and asked the minister of external affairs to take up the matter during bilateral meetings.
Last month, the chief minister had equated the service charge to “jaziya” (a tax on non-Muslims).
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