With the inauguration of the India-Pakistan Kartarpur Corridor set for Saturday, November 9, both nations are busy making last-minute arrangements to ensure a successful ceremony.
The Indian government has put in place infrastructure to open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as part of celebrations commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev ji so that pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Cards can visit the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
Both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan will inaugurate the corridor on their respective ends at 11 am on Saturday. Other political leaders and celebrities will also attend the ceremony which marks the culmination of multiple rounds of negotiations and compromises between both nations.
As the new corridor opens, here are some facts to keep in mind:
- 10,000 Sikhs will attend the opening ceremony and every day at least 5,000 Sikhs from India and an equal number from Pakistan and other places will be allowed to visit the shrine.
- The corridor connects the Dera Baba Nanak shrine, in India's Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak had spent the last 18 years of his life, just 4 kilometres from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province.
- A base camp has been set up for pilgrims in Punjab's border town of Dera Baba Nanak, which is expected to receive around 30,000 pilgrims daily for four days after the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.
- India and Pakistan had signed an agreement to open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Indian pilgrims on October 24, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
- Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Indian Sikh pilgrims would require a passport to use the Kartarpur Corridor, contrary to what Pakistan PM Imran Khan had stated on Twitter on November 1.
- Pakistan has also levied a USD 20 charge for each person using the corridor to visit the Gurdwara.
- Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards too can visit the Gurdwara using the Kartarpur Corridor.
- Pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib are allowed to carry a maximum of INR 11,000 and a 7-kg bag, and will not be allowed to venture beyond the shrine.
- The pilgrims will travel in the morning and will have to return the same day.
- All pilgrims who wish to visit Kartarpur Sahib, will have to register online (prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in) in advance and await permission to travel from the Indian government.
- The corridor will be operational throughout the year seven days a week and pilgrims, except children and senior citizens, have the choice to visit as individuals or in groups.