Pakistan is showing serious desperation after opening up the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh Pilgrimage. India's visiting delegation had a very 'narrow and limited focus' at the Attari talks, but New Delhi is firm about moving ahead with the discussions.
To the surprise of Indian delegation, at the Attari talks on Thursday, the Pakistani delegation spoke about a 'fee' for the pilgrims. The Indian delegation was definitely disappointed about Pakistan's idea of making a quick buck from the Sikh community.
Pakistan is currently in a CATCH-22 situation where it has mounting debt, falling exports and reducing revenues. It is now trying to salvage every possible penny from wherever it can and thus came the idea of charging a Pilgrimage Visa Fees for Sikh Pilgrims for a barely 4.7 km stretch from the International Border.
India and Pakistan last year agreed to open a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.
During Attari talks on Thursday, India pressed for visa-free travel for Kartarpur pilgrims.
'This corridor should be absolutely visa-free. There should not be any need for additional document and procedure so that the basic principle of smooth access of large number of pilgrims is allowed,'
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has lived up to its old reputation of making false promises, tall claims and delivering nothing. Authorities in Islamabad are agreeing to allow only 700 pilgrims per day as against 5,000 proposed by India.
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Article exclusively written for www.DefenceNews.in