Pakistan on Thursday demanded 20 USD as service charge to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur corridor. "Pakistan will charge USD 20 per person as service fees, no entrance fees, for Kartarpur Corridor," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a weekly briefing.
Speaking on Pakistan's demand, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said that Pakistan's demand to charge an entry fee of $ 20 per Indian Sikh pilgrim has been turned down by the government.
When asked whether any negotiation over the minimum amount is undergoing with Pakistan on the entry charges? Responding to it MEA Kumar said that there is no question of minimum fees for travel, he said that there is no need for any entry fees for this.
Earlier this month, India and Pakistan had failed to finalise an agreement on the Kartarpur corridor due to differences over some key issues, including Islamabad's demand on the entry fee for allowing pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
However, India is not accepting Pakistan's proposal for charging pilgrims, B C L Das, leader of the Indian delegation and Joint Secretary, Internal Security in the Home Ministry said.
"Owing to certain differences on a few key issues, the agreement between India and Pakistan could not be finalised. Pakistan has insisted on charging a service fee for allowing Pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is not agreeable in the spirit smooth and easy access through the corridor," ANI quoted B C L Das as saying.
He also added: "India has persisted that it should be free for the pilgrims who wish to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. However, Pakistan has shown extreme inflexibility on the issue and they haven't accommodated our request."
"Pakistan has also shown its unwillingness to allow the presence of Indian Consular or Protocol officials at the Gurdwara premises. We also urged them to reconsider its position on the same," the official said.During the meeting, both the sides also agreed on visa-free travel by Indian pilgrims to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan using the corridor. Moreover, it will allow as many as 5,000 pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara every day.
(With ANI input)