Sidhu given political clearance to visit Kartarpur; Pak issues him visa - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Sidhu given political clearance to visit Kartarpur; Pak issues him visa

Sidhu given political clearance to visit Kartarpur; Pak issues him visa

Sandeep Dikshit & Ruchika M Khanna 
Tribune News Service 
New Delhi/Chandigarh/Islamabad, November 7

Hours after Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was given political clearance by the Centre on Thursday to take part in the Kartarpur corridor inauguration ceremony on the other side of the border, Pakistan issued him visa.

Political clearance has been granted to Sidhu to travel through the Kartarpur Sahib corridor on November 9, the sources in New Delhi said. 

The Pakistan government invited Punjab Congress leader Sidhu -- who also attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor -- to attend Saturday’s inauguration.

A ruling party spokesperson had said that Sidhu, a personal friend of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan since old cricketing days, accepted the invitation.

“Sidhu has been issued a visa and we will warmly welcome him on the opening ceremony,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said during his weekly media briefing here.

The passport waiver for Kartarpur pilgrims would extend up to one year as a special gesture on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, Faisal said.

Pakistan has also waived the USD 20 service charge per pilgrim per visit on November 9 and November 12, he said, adding that it has also waived the requirement of 10-day advance intimation for the mega ceremony.

Earlier in the day, Sidhu again wrote to the External Affairs Minister seeking permission to visit Kartarpur. 

He said he would go to Pakistan as millions of devotees go on an eligible visa. He said since he has not got any response from the EAM, in spite of repeated reminders seeking permission, he would still go to Kartarpur.

Sidhu had on Wednesday also sought permission from the Centre for his clearance to visit Kartarpur. He had said he would visit Kartarpur via Wagah, if the approval to travel on Pakistan PM Imran Khan's invite to him was not granted.

Sidhu has already missed the opportunity to be part of the official jatha. All Punjab MLAs were asked to apply, but Sidhu opted out. — With PTI inputs

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