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Religious Tourism Category To Be Added To Online Visa System for Sikh Pilgrims

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior has decided on Friday to introduce a religious tourism category to the online visa system for Sikh pilgrims interested in visiting the Kartarpur gurdwara.

According to details, the interior ministry decided to introduce two separate categories of visa applications, where one would handle visa matters for Sikh pilgrims living outside India while the other would be for Sikh pilgrims carrying an Indian passport.

It was also decided that all visa requests made in connection with the above-mentioned categories for Kartarpur pilgrimage would take a week to 10 working days for processing.

In this respect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would seek the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to develop a standard operating procedure for pilgrims offered visas under the religious tourism category.

Meanwhile, an amendment in the existing policy in connection with the tourism visa issue would be sought from the cabinet.

The Pakistani government has given assurances to the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor, scheduled to be opened in November, would remain open to pilgrims around the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak.

In addition, the authorities concerned have agreed to permit 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal via the Kartarpur corridor.

Earlier this week, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal had assured the Sikh community that technical talks had taken place between India and Pakistan in connection with the Kartarpur corridor pilgrimage route.

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