India and Pakistan have failed to come to an agreement on the usage of the Kartarpur corridor to access the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
The neighbouring nations had on Wednesday agreed to ensure visa-free travel for Indian pilgrims to the gurdwara in Pakistan using the Kartarpur corridor. Pakistan had said it would allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims to visit the gurdwara every day, and the numbers could be more on special occasions. Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards too would be able to visit the gurdwara using the Kartarpur corridor.
However, the two sides failed to finalise the draft agreement on the corridor with Pakistan insisting on charging a service fee from Indian pilgrims and both sides insisting the other compromise.
“Owing to inflexibility, persistent inflexibility shown by Pakistan, the agreement fell short of finalisation today,” said SCL Das, Joint Secretary with the Ministry of Home Affairs who led the Indian delegation.
In Lahore, Pakistan delegation leader Mohammad Faisal also said India will have to show “a little flexibility”.
“Two or three points of the draft agreement are left to be agreed upon as there has been consensus on the remaining ones,” Faisal, who is also the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson, said.
Entry will be on the basis of cards given out to the pilgrims, Faisal said.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak.
“The corridor will be operational throughout the year, seven days a week. Pilgrims will have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups, and on foot,” Das said after the meeting, the third round of talks on the corridor at the joint secretary level.
Faisal said 90 per cent work on the corridor has been completed on the Pakistani side and the country will open it to visitors next month.