India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed on visa-free travel by Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan using the Kartarpur corridor, officials said. However, during the meeting between the two sides at Attari in Punjab’s Amritsar district, Pakistan insisted on charging a service fee for allowing pilgrims to visit the gurdwara, which was not agreeable to the Indian side.Pakistan has also shown its unwillingness to allow the presence of Indian consular or protocol officials on the gurdwara premises.
Pakistan side was urged to reconsider its position, officials said.S C L Das, Joint Secretary with the Ministry of Home Affairs, said the meeting fell short of finalising the draft agreement on the planned corridor.
Pakistan delegation leader Mohammad Faisal later said, “Two or three points of the draft agreement are left to be agreed upon as there has been consensus on the remaining ones.”Officials said the two sides agreed on visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan without any restrictions.
Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card too can visit the gurdwara using the Kartarpur corridor, official sources said. It was also decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine every day and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to the expansion of facilities by the Pakistan side, they said. Entry will be on the basis of cards given out to the pilgrim, a Pakistani official said.
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