India and Pakistan sign historic pact on the Kartarpur Corridor, says FO

KARTARPUR: Pakistan and India have signed the historic agreement to operationalize Kartarpur Corridor.
The agreement was signed at Kartarpur Zero line on Thursday.
Director General South Asia and SAARC at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Muhammad Faisal signed the agreement on behalf of Pakistan while the Indian side was represented by its Joint Secretary for Home Affairs S. C.L. Das.
Later talking to the media persons, DG South Asia and SAARC Dr Muhammad Faisal said the agreement will facilitate pilgrims to visit Gurdawara Kartarpur seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
He said the Yatrees will come in the morning and return back in the evening. He said the Yatrees will be able to enter the Pakistani territory after a procedure of two or three minutes.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said under the agreement, India will provide a list of Yatrees ten days before their visits so that they could be properly received.
He said the first group of Yatrees will come on the ninth of next month.
He said as per our commitment, this will be a visa free travel for the Yatrees. Only nominal service charges of twenty dollars per Yatree will be charged.
He said we have agreed to accommodate five thousand Yatrees on daily basis and if there is more capacity we will accommodate them. He said roads and a reception center have been built in the area. He said a huge Gurdwara has been built which is being described as the biggest in the world.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said the signing of the agreement, despite many challenges indicates the resolve of the Prime Minister to fulfill his commitment in line with the Islamic principles for respect of all religions and government’s policy to promote interfaith harmony.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the inauguration of the corridor on the 9th of next month and in this regard a big ceremony will also be arranged.
The Director General South Asia and SAARC said it was difficult and tough negotiations with India given the history tense relations with the country.
Responding to a question, the Director General South Asia and SAARC said that Sikh pilgrims from other countries including Canada and European will also be facilitated to visit their sacred places in Pakistan.
He said elaborate security arrangements have also been put in place for the Yatrees.
When asked about Kashmir dispute, Dr Muhammad Faisal said there is no change whatsoever in Pakistan’s position on the festering dispute.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has stated that signing of Kartarpur corridor agreement despite challenges is manifestation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s strong determination.
In a statement on Thursday, he said it is a historic day as the Prime Minister has fulfilled his promise made with the Sikh community.He said the agreement reflects Pakistan’s foreign policy that highlights Islamic teachings with regard to respect for other religions.
Meanwhile,Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan has stated that Kartarpur Corridor agreement will open a bright chapter of promotion of human respect and fraternity.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, she said the agreement is a practical evidence of Pakistan being flag bearer of interfaith harmony and peace.
Following is the full text of agreement signed between Pakistan and India on Kartarpur Corridor on Thursday:-
Text begins: “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the facilitation of Pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Norwal, Pakistan.
WHEREAS the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Parties”, are desirous to provide easy access to the Pilgrims who are citizens of India or persons of Indian origin, hereinafter referred to as “Pilgrims”, to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal,
Pakistan (hereinafter reffered to as Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib), being the final resting place of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as well as to mark 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji through the dedicated corridor developed across the International Boundary (with Zero Point at 54.38 meter from Boundary Pillar 42/7 towards Boundary Pillar 42/8 and
89.595 meters from Boundary Pillar 42/8 towards Boundary Pillar 42/7), hereinafter referred to as “Kartarpur Sahib Corridor”;
The parties agree as follows:
i. The objective of this Agreement is to facilitate visa-free travel of Pilgrims from India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan and back to India, through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
ii. In order to implement this Agreement, the Parties shall establish requisite infrastructure including construction of a bridge at Budhi Ravi Channel, at the earliest possible, facilitation centers and, counter for running security checks and identity card for the
facilitation of Pilgrims, as agreed, in their respective territories to facilitate safe, secure, smooth and hassle-free movement of Pilgrims.
iii. The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor shall be operational from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, throughout the year, except for closure on notified days or exigencies which will be informed to Government of India in advance. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
shall ensure that all Pilgrims, who enter Pakistan on a given day, return to India the same day, before dusk.
iv. Pilgrims shall travel on valid passport. The Pilgrims will include Indian passport holders as well as persons of Indian origin who shall carry the Overseas Citizen of India Card along with their passports.
v. The Government of India shall share with the Government of Pakistan, through designated nodal points, details of the Pilgrims 10 days prior to their entry through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The Government of Pakistan shall share the final list of pilgrims, 4 days before the day of the visit, with the Government of India. For this the nodal points
will establish a mechanism.
vi. The Government of Pakistan may issue and identity card to facilitate the Pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib solely for the purpose of religious visit. The Government of Pakistan will charge USD 20 per pilgrims per visit, as service charges.
vii. 5000 Pilgrims shall be permitted to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on any given day, with any additional provision for more Pilgrims on special days including Gurpurab, Baisakhi, etc., subject to capacity.
viii. The Pilgrims may travel as individuals or in groups, as per their choice. The Pilgrims may preferably constitute a group of at least 15 people. Pilgrims may also travel through the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on foot.
ix. It shall be the responsibility of the Parties to ensure that the Pilgrims do not carry any item from either side, mentioned in the list annexed to this Agreement.
x. The Agreement shall be implemented in accordance with the national laws, rules and regulations of the Parties. The Agreement does not affect the existing commitments under the Agreements entered between the Parties and obligations under International Law.
xi. The Parties shall designate nodal points on either side for sharing concerns, if any, arising out of the day to day operation of this Agreement.
xii. The operation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor may be suspended in case of exigencies or persistent violation of the provisions of this Agreement.
xiii. The designated nodal points between the Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers will deal with emergencies and exigencies, including medical evacuation of the Pilgrims.
xiv. A Joint Workin Group (JWG) shall be constituted by the Parties for facilitating the smooth implementation of this Agreement.
xv. All differences arising from, or in connection with, the interpretation of this Agreement shall be amicably settled between the Parties through diplomatic channels.
xvi. This Agreement may be amended, supplemented or modified by written mutual agreement of the Parties.
xvii. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of signatures by the Parties and shall remain valid fo a period of 5 years, unless terminated earlier. The parties may extend the duration of this Agreement for any period by mutual consent in writing.
xviii. Either Party may terminate this Agreement at any time by giving a notice of one month to the other party of its intention to terminate this Agreement.
In Witness whereof, the duly authorized representatives of the Parties have signed this Agreement at Zero Point Kartarpur Corridor on this 24th day of October in the year 2019, in two originals, in the English language.” – NNI

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