ISLAMABAD    -  The Ministry of Interior has proposed to introduce religious tourism category in its online visa system to facilitate Sikh pilgrims looking to apply for visas to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

The Ministry of Interior in a meeting has decided that a religious tourism category would be added to the online visa system for Sikh pilgrims.

The previous policy in this regard is being amended and finalized and would be placed before the cabinet for final approval after having input of all stakeholders, an official of the ministry said.

For this purpose, the ministry will introduce two separate categories of visa applications. One would be for Sikh pilgrims of any foreign nationality having Indian origin. They will be considered citizens of those countries of which they hold the passports.

The other category would be for Sikh pilgrims who hold an Indian passport along with the residence permit of another country. All visa requests from both the categories will be processed within 7 to 10 working days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) will make a standard operating procedure for those visitors who have been issued visas under the religious tourism category.

Earlier this week, Pakistan agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit on a daily basis the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal through the Kartarpur Corridor. The Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal made this announcement on last Wednesday while he briefed the media about the third round of talks that took place between India and Pakistan to finalize modalities for visitors regarding Kartarpur.

Pakistan has announced that 90 per cent of the work on Kartarpur Corridor has completed and it would be opened in November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

In November last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had performed the groundbreaking of the corridor connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district in Pakistan to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district. A large number of people from Sikh community—both local and Indian, three Indian ministers, Indian journalists and foreign diplomats had attended the ceremony besides others.