Pakistan establishes immigration centre at Kartarpur border near Lahore

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur | Photo: Wikipedia

Pakistan has established an immigration centre at the Kartarpur border following the groundbreaking of the landmark corridor for Sikh pilgrims.

The corridor will connect Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev's final resting place in Pakistan's Kartarpur to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district in India, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.

Since the border crossing could be an easy target for "terrorists, human traffickers and drug dealers", a strong mechanism was required to keep the situation under control on both sides of the border, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Deputy Director (Punjab) Mufakhar Adeel said.

"The FIA has set up an immigration office at Kartarpur border in Narowal (some 120 kms from Lahore) in connection with the opening of Kartarpur corridor," Adeel told Dawn news.

"The FIA officers will play the role of boarding officers and check the documents of Sikh pilgrims and identify them through biometric technology. Sikh pilgrims having visas will be allowed to enter the city while those with permits will be given access to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib only," he said.

On November 28, Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor.

On November 26, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Gurdaspur.

Khan said that his government and the army wanted a "civilised relationship" with India, declaring that Islamabad would move two steps forward if New Delhi took one step.

Khan cited examples of France and Germany which fought many wars but eventually came closer for the welfare of their people.

Pakistan assured that it will keep improving the Kartarpur corridor and provide maximum facilities to the pilgrims when they visit in November, 2019 to celebrate Guru Nanak's 550th birth anniversary.

The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.

The corridor is expected to be completed within six months.

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