From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Kartarpur Corridor
Mains level : Pilgrimage diplomacy and Kartarpur corridor
- India and Pakistan finally signed an agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur corridor that will facilitate pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.
About the agreement
- The agreement is valid initially for five years.
- India will hand over the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days in advance and those granted permission to go may be informed only four days before the proposed date of travel.
- The agreement said pilgrims would be allowed to carry a maximum of Rs. 11,000 and a 7-kg bag that could contain drinking water, and they would not be allowed to venture beyond the shrine.
- They would travel in the morning and return the same day.
- However there has been no progress on resolving the disagreement over a $20 fee that Pakistan intends to levy on each traveller.
Why is Pakistan seeking fees?
- The fees is being criticized as “jazia” tax on pilgrims from Indian side.
- However, Pakistan has spent about Rs 1,000 crore on the Kartarpur corridor infrastructure.
- It said it would be providing langar to the pilgrims who visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
- It would also be providing e-rickshaws to ferry the pilgrims from Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side.
- According to the “do’s and don’ts” issued by the MHA children below 13 years and persons of about 75 years and above will have to travel in groups.
- All pilgrims who propose to visit will have to necessarily register online. Registration does not confer a right to travel.
- Pilgrims would be allowed to carry kirpans (dagger), one of the five articles of faith worn by Sikhs.
- Smoking, drinking and use of tobacco are not allowed inside the PTB complex at Dera Baba Nanak.
- The first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, founded Khartarpur in 1504 AD on the right bank of the Ravi River. The name Kartarpur means “place of God”.
- The corridor is being built to connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak.
- It is held to commemorate his 550th birth anniversary celebrations on November 12.