Govt to Add Religious Tourism Category to Online Visa System for Kartarpur Visitors
- The Ministry of Interior decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for the Sikh pilgrims, applying to visit Kartarpur.
- NADRA would collaborate with the Foreign Ministry to come up with a standard operating procedure.
- The corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak.
The Ministry of Interior has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for Kartarpur Visitors.
As the government strengthens its efforts to promote the tourism sector, the Interior Ministry has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system designed for Sikh pilgrims looking to visit KartarpurDera Sahib.
During a meeting of the Ministry of Interior, it has been decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be entertained by the ministry:
- One would be for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world.
- The other would be for Sikh pilgrims holding a residence permit from another country along with an Indian passport.
The Meeting Concluded:
The visa requests from both categories for Kartarpur pilgrimages will be processed within 7-10 working days.
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will collaborate with the ministry of foreign affairs to come up with a standard operating procedure for visitors issued visas under the religious tourism category.
An amendment in the policy to make room for the above-mentioned steps will be sought from the cabinet.
Repeatedly, Pakistan has assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak.
The proposed corridor would allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the GurdwaraDarbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor, which is scheduled to be opened in November.
The system will send guidelines to the applicant on receiving an application from a Sikh pilgrim for visiting the Pakistani embassy for the verification of their credentials.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry and NADRA will forward the standard operating procedure they finalize to the Ministry of Interior so that the cabinet’s approval can be sought for the required amendment to the policy.
This announcement came after the third meeting on the Kartarpur Corridor at Attari, India. The meeting discussed the modalities of the draft agreement for the facilitation of pilgrims to visit GurdwaraKartarpur by using the Kartarpur Corridor.
The Pakistan delegation was led by the Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Director General for South Asia and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, at the Foreign Ministry.
Both sides held discussed issues including the issuance of cards to visiting pilgrims. Dr. Faisal, who is the Foreign Office Spokesperson and said that both the sides exchanged dossiers on the corridor expansion.
Recently, Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor in November this year on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and urged India to show flexibility on the matter.
Pakistan’s Kartarpur spirit is aimed at facilitating and promoting Nanak Naamlevas and limiting pilgrims is necessary for the initial phases due to capacity constraints.
Prime Minister Khan’s very first announcement of visa-free access to pilgrims is a testament to Pakistan’s sincerity and commitment to maximally facilitating them.
More than 90% of work has been completed on the Kartarpur Corridor. The Kartarpur Corridor is expected to open on November 11.
Pakistan is committed to open the corridor by November this year on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
Pakistan has kept the corridor project insulated from the recent tensions with India over the annulment of Article 370, subsequent repressive actions in occupied Kashmir and intensified ceasefire violations on the Line of Control.