While not a complete victory, the 14 overworked elephants will be transferred to a conservation and breeding center by early 2020.
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Relations between India and Pakistan have been tense ever since the scrapping of Article 370 (granting special provisions to Jammu and Kashmir) by India. This has put expected strain on trade and security, and also obviously travel amongst the two nations. While people may have been unsure of the pilgrimage to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Pakistan assured that 86% of the Kartarpur corridor is complete and will be open to pilgrims who wish to cross-over from India to Pakistan for Guru Nanak’s 500th birth anniversary. According to PTI, the corridor will be functional from November 9, said project Atif Majid to Pakistani and foreign journalists at a gathering in Narowal.
From Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab to Darbar Sahib Gurudwara in Kartarpur, the route will facilitate visa-free travel for visitors. Only a permit is required to be obtained for the trip. This marks the second time visa-free movement has been made available amongst the two countries ever since independence in 1947.
With agreement of both the countries, Pakistan will allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims every day, which will later be increased to 10,000 visitors. For the initial 5,000, the country will provide 76 immigration counters, said Majid. For the latter visitors, the amount of counters will be increased to 152.
Last week, India had stated that several issues were to be ironed out, including Pakistan’s condition to charge $20 service charge from each visitor. India held objections against this insistence. On the other hand, India also put forward their requirements of having an Indian protocol officer travel with the pilgrims, a condition not accepted by Pakistan. The stand on these matters seem to be unclear.
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