Pakistan's Interior Ministry has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for Sikh pilgrims looking to apply for visas to visit Kartarpur, it emerged on Friday.
According to a report in Dawn newspaper, a meeting of the Ministry decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be entertained -- one would be for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world while the other would be for 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, according to the report.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will collaborate with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to come up with a standard operating procedure for visitors issued visas under the religious tourism category.
An amendment in the policy to make room for the above mentioned steps will be be sought from the Cabinet, Dawn said.
Islamabad has repeatedly assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened by November on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
The two countries have already agreed on visa-free travel for 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily throughout the year, without restrictions, based on their faith. Persons of Indian origin holding Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards too can visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor.