Chandigarh, July 14 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to remove the requirement of separate permit system to allow pilgrims to travel through the historic Kartarpur Corridor, as had been demanded by him, but requested waiver of passport also to facilitate devotees from the rural areas of the state.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, the Chief Minister hoped the Government of India would press Pakistan to accept other key demands being raised by him over the past several months. These included further increase in the daily limit of pilgrims allowed passage by Islamabad to enable ‘khulle darshan’ to mark the historic occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. This was vital to ensure smooth flow of pilgrims on important days during the celebration period in November, he said.
Pakistan has now agreed to 5000 devotees a day as against its original proposal of 500 but Capt Amarinder said the number needed to be further raised, at least on special occasions, in view of the huge demand for permissions expected to come from Sikhs and other devotees who were likely to descend from around the world.
The Chief Minister however hailed Pakistan’s decision to allow OCI and PIO Card holders, as urged by him, in an earlier to the Government of India on the issue. It may be recalled that in their MoU, Pakistan had suggested allowing only Indian Yatris. 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 become even more flexible with regard to the various issues raised by him to enable all the pilgrims visit the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, he added.
Pakistan, which has also conceded India’s demand to build a bridge over Rabi river, has taken some steps forward today, the Chief Minister appreciated, but urged the Indian government to engage even more closely with them to secure their agreement on other demands he has been putting forth.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his demand for a special package from the Indian Government to make the celebrations truly historic and befitting the sacred occasion.