DW BUREAU / LAHORE
Pakistan’s Punjab police on Thursday deployed a special ‘Tourism Police Force’ for the security of the Indian pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur corridor on a daily basis from Saturday when it will be opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan.The Pakistan Rangers will be responsible for the security of the corridor and the Punjab police will coordinate with it.
“A batch of 100 Tourism Police Force has been deployed to look after Sikh pilgrims and their security,” Punjab police spokesperson Niyab Haider Naqvi told PTI on Thursday. He said more policemen are taking training and they will also join the first batch in coming days. Similarly, the Pakistan Rangers have increased the number of personnel deployed at the corridor for security reasons.
“The Rangers have deployed more personnel at the corridor ahead of its formal opening on Saturday to ensure full-proof security,” an official told PTI. He said the visiting Sikh pilgrims will be restricted to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib and the rangers and police will ensure a complete security in and around the corridor and the gurdwara.
Pakistan army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also said that no Indian pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib through the corridor will be allowed to move “an inch” from the restricted area.
Meanwhile, different departments of the Pakistan government held a meeting here on Thursday to finalise arrangements for the historic opening of the corridor on Saturday afternoon. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was also cleaned on Thursday for the occasion.
“All arrangements to greet the Sikh pilgrims and other guests coming here on the opening of the corridor have been finalised. We have made sure that the visiting pilgrims face no problem rather they cherish it as their memorable visit,” Amir Hashmi, spokesperson of the Evacuee Trust Property Board which looks after the minority holy places in the country, told PTI.
“On Thursday we took a good number of Sikhs arrived here on visa to the Kartarpur Sahib where they performed their religious rituals,” he added. Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee pardhan (president) Sardar Sarojeet Singh was also among the visiting pilgrims. “On the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib is the most beautiful thing for the Sikhs,” Singh said. He said the visiting Sikhs cannot explain their happiness in words. The Inter-Services Public Relations – the media wing of the army – and the Press Information Department have made arrangements for transporting the local and Indian journalists to the corridor on Saturday morning. On Prime Minister Khan’s statement about waiving USD 20 service charge from Indian pilgrims using the corridor and passport condition, the Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday clarified the government’s position.