Multiple, on-arrival visas for Sikhs: Pak

Imran: Kartarpur their Medina, Nankana Mecca

Lahore, September 3, 2019: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his government would issue multiple and on-arrival visas to Sikh pilgrims coming from India and other countries.

Imran said the government would provide Sikh pilgrims maximum possible facilities during the pilgrimage to the holy sites in Pakistan, the News International reported.

Addressing the International Sikh Convention at the Governor House here on Monday, Imran said, “I assure that you will be issued multiple visas…This is our responsibility. We will give you visas at the airport.”

Pakistan has decided to complete the process of issuance of visas to Sikh pilgrims by September 30 to facilitate their participation at the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev at Nankana Sahib on November 12. The visa process started on September 1.

“The move is not a favour, it is Pakistan’s obligation,” the Saama TV quoted Imran as saying.

I assure that you will be issued multiple visas… This is our responsibility. We will give you visas at the airport. — Imran Khan, Pak PM

“Kartarpur is your Medina and Nankana Sahib is your Mecca. We (Muslims) can’t even imagine someone keeping us away from Mecca or Medina. This is a new visa regime so there may some obstacles initially, but we will facilitate you fully,” he said. The convention was attended by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, federal and provincial cabinet members, and Sikh pilgrims from the UK, US, Canada, Europe and other countries.

New Delhi and Islamabad have agreed that Pakistan would allow 5,000 Sikh visitors per day into the country through the proposed Kartarpur corridor.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate movement of Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established by Guru Nanak Dev.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Guru Nanak, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India. — PTI

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