Passport confusion reigns - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Passport confusion reigns

Passport confusion reigns

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak, November 5

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is yet to respond to Pakistan government’s proposal of waiving the requirement of a passport for Sikh pilgrims to travel through the corridor to Kartarpur shrine, following which confusion reigns supreme.

Five days after Pakistan PM Imran Khan tweeted about the waiver, the online portal established by India still asks for a copy of the passport to be uploaded.

Officials claim Khan’s tweet holds no relevance till the MEA comes up with clear-cut instructions. The government has also yet to make it clear the nature of the ID card to be carried by pilgrims if at all a passport is not required. Khan’s so-called waiver, meanwhile, has evoked strong reactions.

Dubai-based businessman SPS Oberoi, who is making liberal donations, said it was beyond the jurisdiction of the Pakistan PM to announce the passport waiver. 

“It is a matter to be sorted out between two countries,” he said. “He can waive off the $20 fee. However, on that count he is maintaining silence. Let both countries talk and settle the passport issue while Khan should waive off the service tax fee not only on November 9 and 12 as envisaged by him but on all days,” said Oberoi.

Officials, not willing to be named, said the Pakistan PM was “politicising and communalising” the corridor opening by announcing waivers for just Sikhs.

“Perhaps Khan is unaware that thousands of Hindus, both in India and abroad, follow the teachings of Guru Nanak and regularly visit gurdwaras,” added Oberoi.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has announced that devotees can cross over from 7 am till 11.30 am and will have to return between 12.30 pm and 5 pm. Pilgrims will have to complete all the formalities at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Dera Baba Nanak before they can proceed to the Pakistan ICP, 600 m away.

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