Can Indians Travel Visa-Free To This Gurudwara In Pakistan?

Can Indians Travel Visa-Free To This Gurudwara In Pakistan?
Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan, Photo Credit: Gurdwara Darbar Sahib / Facebook

Sikh pilgrims in India are hopeful that the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (2019) may bring some extra good tidings for them in the guise of a visa-free visit to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan

Uttara Gangopadhyay
September 19 , 2018
01 Min Read

Close to the Indian border town of Gurdaspur is Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan. It was at Kartarpur that Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life. The Gurudwara, which marks the site of his final resting place, was reopened in 1999 after a thorough repair.

Pilgrims visiting Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur (India), from a distance, pay their respect to Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, which is visible from here, a mere six km separating the two. The Indian Gurudwara has also installed binoculars for the benefit of the pilgrims.

According to media reports, following the historic bus trip to Lahore undertaken by former Indian Prime Minister, late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in February 1999, Sikh pilgrims, including Sikh jatha-s, have been visiting Karatpur Sahib on valid visas from Pakistan. But a corridor connecting the two and documentation-free travel between them is a long cherished dream of Indian pilgrims.

Their hopes have been fuelled by communications from political leaders from both countries. 

Indian cricketer turned politician Navjyot Singh, according to media reports, has said that Pakistan government is planning to allow access to Kartarpur corridor and that he has written to the Indian government about it too.

According to a report by the Times of India, Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry, in an interview to BBC Urdu, has said that Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf-led government headed by Imran Khan (former cricket captain of Pakistan who later turned politician) is mulling to give Sikh pilgrims "visa-free direct access" to Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara. TOI quoted the minister as saying, "A road will be constructed for the pilgrims to come. They will then have to buy a ticket to go back.”

However, there has been no official announcement yet from the Indian or the Pakistani government and political ramifications between the neighboring countries will ultimately influence the decision. Until then, we hope that this corridor connecting two key Sikh Gurudwaras in India and Pakistan will see the light of day. 

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