By Manash Pratim Bhuyan
(Eds: Updating with more quotes)
Lahore, Nov 8 (PTI) Pakistan will not charge the service fee of USD 20 from Indian pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara on November 9 and 12, Foreign Minister Shah Mohammed Qureshi said on Friday, ending the confusion over the facilitation charges on the two days.
Kartarpur corridor is a "corridor of love" and there is no sinister design in it, he said on allegations that the Kartarpur corridor could be used to promote separatism in Punjab.
In an interaction with a group of India journalists, Qureshi termed as "historic" the opening of the corridor connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Punjab with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in the Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province on Saturday.
Calling India's move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status under article 370 as "unilateral and unacceptable", he slammed India for the decision.
Pilgrims will not be charged service fee to visit Kartarpur Shahib shrine on November 9 and 12, Qureshi said, hours after sources said Pakistan has conveyed to India that it will charge the USD 20 facilitation fee from each pilgrim using the corridor to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on Saturday.
On the issue of resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue, he said, "We don't want dialogue with India for the sake of it".
"Kartarpur initiative does not mean Pakistan is interested in having bilateral talks with India," the Foreign Minister said.
Notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties over Kashmir, India and Pakistan after tough negotiations signed an agreement last month, paving the way for the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.
The agreement will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.
When asked whether passports will be required by the visiting pilgrims using the corridor, Qureshi said: "we will go by the provisions of the Kartarpur agreement signed between Pakistan and India".
Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor and the travel will be visa-free. Each visitor would be required to pay USD 20 as fee.
A 100-member special 'Tourism Police Force' for the security of Indian pilgrims using the Kartarpur corridor has been deployed by Pakistan's Punjab province.
Sikh pilgrims have started coming at the Nankana Sahib from India and other countries in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. PTI MPB CPS ASK AKJ CPS