Religious tourism category to be added to online visa system for Kartarpur visitors

The Ministry of Interior has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for Sikh pilgrims looking to apply for visas to visit Kartarpur, it emerged on Friday.

A meeting of the Ministry of Interior 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 while the other would be for Sikh pilgrims holding a residence permit from another country along with an Indian passport. All visa requests from both categories for Kartarpur pilgrimages will be processed within 7 to 10 working days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will collaborate with National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) 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 be sought from the cabinet.

Pakistan has repeatedly assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak.

Pakistan has agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur corridor, which is scheduled to be opened in November.

The latest reassurance came from Foreign office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday while he briefed the media regarding the technical talks that took place between delegations from India and Pakistan regarding Kartarpur.