ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India are set to sign the draft agreement on Kartarpur Corridor today (Thursday), which would govern the operations of the visa-free facility.

The draft agreement includes finalisation of modalities regarding the service fee of $20 per pilgrim.

“As of now, Pakistan and India would sign the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor tomorrow. We are fully ready to operationalise the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on our side,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal while addressing a weekly press briefing here on Wednesday.

“Currently, we are in the process of devising a mechanism to charge $20 per visitor per visit, as service charges. The Yatrees will be permitted to visit Gurdawara Kartarpur Sahib from morning till evening, said the spokesman while responding to a question.

Dr Faisal said both sides would ink the document at Zero Point near the site of Kartarpur Corridor for its formal operationalisation on November 9 to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh spiritual leader Baba Guru Nanak.

Islamabad to attend Afghan peace talks in Moscow

The signing is taking place after India conformed to Pakistan’s firm stance of levying the $20 service fee for each visitor of Kartarpur. As many as 5,000 pilgrims daily will be allowed to visit the holy site of Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, located at 4.5 kms from the border with India.

The spokesman said clause-by-clause details of the agreement would be later shared with the media.

To a question, he said Pakistan will take part in the upcoming round of four-party meeting of China, Russia and the United States on the Afghan peace process, scheduled to be held in Moscow.

“Pakistan has been a part of all efforts and processes to discuss and facilitate peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan,” he said mentioning the next round would provide an important opportunity to review the currently stalled peace process.

Pakistan side will be represented by Additional Secretary (Afghanistan & West Asia) in the meeting, he informed. Pakistan had participated in the first round of four Party talks in Beijing, in July, this year (2019).

About claims of the Indian army chief, he said Pakistan categorically rejects the claims of the Indian army chief about so-called “launchpads” being targeted by India along the LoC.

“Pakistan has arranged the visit of the diplomatic corps in Islamabad along with media to the site of recent Indian ceasefire violations which resulted in the shahadat of five innocent civilians on the Pakistani side and injuries to six others,” he said, mentioning that Pakistan requested the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to share details of the alleged location to back the Indian allegations.

He said Pakistan has also invited the Indian High Commission to visit LoC along with other diplomats from Islamabad and show the alleged “launchpads” but no response has been received from India.

“Pakistan does not harbour any aggressive designs but our armed forces and people remain ready to defend the country against any acts of aggression,” he said, mentioning that they had also noticed that the anti-Pakistan tirade of the BJP leadership has continued as the electoral process in the Indian states of Haryana and Maharashtra advanced. He said Pakistan categorically rejects the Indian allegations and threats as well as distortion of history and facts.

About Kashmir issue, he said Pakistan’s position on festering Kashmir is very clear and unchanged. “The resolution of this dispute lies in the aspirations of Kashmiri people as per the UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

Condemning Indian blatant human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, he said the humanitarian nightmare in the held valley is worsening with continued military lockdown and complete communications blockade. He said eight million people in occupied Kashmir remain cut off from the rest of the world. He said these inhumane and unilateral actions by India are continuing in spite of international condemnation.

About water dispute with India, he said Pakistan will fight its case at an appropriate forum if its rights under the Indus Water Treaty were challenged. “We are exercising all rights provided in the agreement. In case, India takes any steps that are violative of the Treaty, Pakistan will exercise all options available in the Treaty to counter Indian moves,” he said.

About Malaysian Prime Minister’s clear stance on the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, he said Pakistan appreciate Malaysian Prime Minister’s position on Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir. “We are proud of our Malaysian brothers and sisters. We, and the Kashmiris, appreciate Malaysian Prime Minister’s position on Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir,” he said.