Govt to add religious tourism category to e-visa system for Kartarpur visitors


ISLAMABAD: As the government intensifies its efforts to promote the tourism sector, the Interior Ministry has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system designed for Sikh pilgrims looking to visit Kartarpur Dera Sahib.

According to details, a meeting of the ministry decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be offered by the home ministry on wards – one for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world while the other for dual nationality holder Sikh pilgrims holding a residence permit from another country along with an Indian passport.

“All visa requests from both categories for Kartarpur pilgrimages will be processed within 7 to 10 working days,” the meeting concluded.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) will collaborate with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to constitute a standard operating procedure for visitors issued visas under the religious tourism category.

Reportedly, an amendment in the policy to make room for the aforementioned steps will be sought from the cabinet next week.

The development comes as talks between Pakistan and India pertaining to the purposed Kartarpur Corridor enters finals stage and Pakistan, on Wednesday, agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on a daily basis.

Earlier, the government had assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak in November this year.

The latest reassurance came from Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday as he briefed the media regarding the technical talks that took place between delegations from the two countries regarding Kartarpur Corridor.