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New announcements by Pak add to Kartarpur confusion

New announcements by Pak add to Kartarpur confusion
Highlights

Confusion continued to reign over Pakistan's announcements on the Kartarpur corridor, with the Foreign Office on Thursday saying that Indian pilgrims are exempted from having to carry passports to visit the Kartarpur shrine.

Islamabad: Confusion continued to reign over Pakistan's announcements on the Kartarpur corridor, with the Foreign Office on Thursday saying that Indian pilgrims are exempted from having to carry passports to visit the Kartarpur shrine.

Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal also said that Pakistan was waiving the requirement of announcing the list of pilgrims 10 days in advance and that it was waiving the $20 service fee from pilgrims on November 9 and 10.

Earlier, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor had tweeted, saying that Indian pilgrims would require a passport to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.

Asked about it, the FO spokesperson said: "This is the formal position of Foreign Office and the ISPR statement is also in line with it".

The DG ISPR's tweet came a week after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Indian Sikh pilgrims coming to Kartarpur "won't need a passport -- just a valid ID".

The FO spokesperson also said the passport waiver for Kartarpur pilgrims would extend up to one year as a special gesture on the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh spiritual leader Baba Guru Nanak, according to The News.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan had issued visa to Indian politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for his visit to the holy shrine.

Faisal said Pakistan was expecting a massive inflow of Sikhs from all over the world to visit their revered site.

He said promotion of Hindu and Buddhist sacred sites situated inside Pakistan was also under consideration as the country was a cradle of ancient civilizations for centuries.

In New Delhi, Athe Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a briefing that despite the corridor set to be inaugurated on Saturday "a sense of confusion continues" in Pakistan.

Kumar said the Indian government would go by the bilateral MoU inked between the two sides on the Kartarpur corridor.

"As of today, there is a bilateral document which has been signed between the two sides, which very clearly specifies the documents needed to undertake the visit," he said.

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