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Pakistan u-turn: To charge Sikh pilgrims $20 entry fee even on Kartarpur opening day after passport flip-flop

Pakistan has been issuing contradicting statements on the condition of passport requirements by India pilgrims and also the fee waiver on November 9 and 12 as promised by their PM Imran Khan.

After a flip flop over conditions of passport required for Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur corridor, Pakistan has now made a U-turn on the fee waiver during the opening ceremony of the corridor. According to a PTI report, Pakistan has conveyed to India that people travelling through the Kartarpur corridor on Saturday will also have to pay the USD 20 fee.

This is in sharp contradiction to Pakistan Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that no fee would be charged from the pilgrims on the opening day of the corridor on November 9 and on Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 12.

In fact, yesterday also, it was reported that Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Mohammad Faisal has in a statement endorsed Imran Khan’ claims who committed of waiving the requirement to convey pilgrim information to the Pakistani government 10 days prior to entry and also waived USD 20 service fee per pilgrim on November 9 and 12.

Faisal also said that the condition of passports for Indian Sikhs was waived for one year in the wake of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, adding that all this was formally conveyed this to India.

Amusingly, Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor had, in an extremely conflicting statement said that Indian Sikh pilgrim would require a passport to use Kartarpur Corridor, which will be inaugurated on Saturday.

Imran Khan and his chattels seem to be extremely confused as every day one of them is coming up with a fresh canard, controverting their own team members previous version.  This is probably the reason why Imran Khan’ opposition has also branded him ‘U-turn Khan’ as he has a track record of backtracking from his claim.

On November 1, the Pakistani PM had taken to Twitter to announce waivers for Indian pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through the Kartarpur corridor. Khan declared that Indian pilgrims will not have to register in advance and they will not require a passport for their visit, although a valid ID will be needed. Besides, he also stated that no fees will be charged on the inauguration day and on Guruji’s 550th birthday.

Read: Ahead of Kartarpur Corridor opening, India alleges Pakistan has not made arrangements, MoU not amended to waive passport as per Imran Khan’s tweet

Sources in the government of India had also asserted that Imran Khan’s Tweet, stating that no passports would be required to undertake the pilgrim, has created an absolute confusion amongst the pilgrims.

India had said that this requirement is however mentioned in the MOU signed. There has been no offer from Pakistan to amend the MOU in light of Imran Khan’s tweet. Pilgrims are therefore are unclear on the documents they need to carry.

Moreover, they were of the belief that the callousness shown by Pakistan towards the arrangements has ruined the spirit of the pilgrimage as they have been unwilling to extend full cooperation.

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