Indian cricket star and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu will attend the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 and will be issued a visa on that, Foreign Ministry (FO) spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal said Thursday.
Last week it was learned that the government had sent an invitation to Sidhu, who also attended the oath ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan last year, as well as the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor, to attend the inauguration on Saturday .
A PTI spokesman said Sidhu accepted the invitation. According to India today, Sidhu can cross at the Wagah border with a visa. However, as an elected representative of an Indian state legislature, he requires political authorization to attend any ceremony held by the government of Pakistan.
Speaking today at the weekly press conference, the FO spokesman said that on the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Baba Guru Nanak, Pakistan:
- quit [the requirement] for pilgrims to carry their passports for the 550 birth celebrations
- waived the requirement to transmit pilgrim information to the Pakistani government 10 days before entry through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor
- resigned from the service charge of $ 20 per pilgrim per visit on November 9 and 12
Dr. Faisal said that the High Commission of India and the government have been informed of this.
On November 1, Prime Minister Imran announced that Sikh pilgrims arriving from India to visit Kartarpur will no longer need a passport to cross into Pakistan, provided they have a valid identity.
In a tweet, the prime minister also announced that he had ordered that the condition be waived for pilgrims to register 10 days before their arrival at the sanctuary of Kartarpur.
The prime minister also announced that pilgrims arriving on the day of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and on the 550th anniversary of the birth of Baba Guru Nanak will not be charged any fees for the visit.
After tough negotiations between Islamabad and New Delhi, Pakistan and India finally signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor before the 550th anniversary of the birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.
The four-kilometer long corridor, which will open on Saturday, will provide pilgrims with a visa-free link between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and the Dera Baba Nanak sanctuary in the Indian Punjab. Daily access to up to 5,000 Indian Sikhs has been allowed, with plans to eventually double capacity.
Harassment of Pakistani diplomats in Kabul
The FO spokesman said Pakistan's embassy in Kabul will process visa applications for medical emergency patients during the closing of consular services.
The war of words between Islamabad and Kabul over the alleged harassment of diplomats began on Sunday when the Pakistani government said that the officers and staff of the Pakistan embassy in Kabul were "obstructed on the road and the embassy vehicles were also run over on motorcycles as they headed for the embassy. " The consular section of the Pakistani embassy then suspended its services.
"The officers and staff of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul had been continuously arrested," said Dr. Faisal today, adding that they have urged the Afghan government to ensure the security of [consular] personal.