A group of 225 pilgrims reached Pakistan via the Kartarpur corridor on Sunday and paid obeisance at the Durbar Sahib gurdwara, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the trans-border corridor, officials familiar with the matter said.
On Saturday, Modi also flagged off the first “jatha”, or batch, of about 600 pilgrims, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. The corridor linking Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India to the Kartarpur gurdwara was opened to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Satnam Singh, one of the pilgrims who visited the Kartarpur gurdwara on Sunday, was quoted by news agency IANS as praising the authorities on both sides. “You can spend as much time as you can. There is a free ‘langar’ (community kitchen) facility and there is a provision of free golf cart service for transportation from the border to the gurdwara,” he told the news agency.
The corridor has also been embroiled in controversy, with confusion prevailing over whether Indian pilgrims would be charged a $20 service fee. Pakistan’s foreign office on Friday first said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to waive the service fee for Indian pilgrims on November 9 and 12 had been withdrawn, and then announced the waiver would be implemented on the two days.