DESPARDES — Nearly US$100,000 as daily income (US$20 per visit of 5000 pilgrims to Kartarpur) the government of Pakistan is expected to earn to pay for its expenses in handling more than 1.83m Sikh pilgrims annually.
The revered religious site (after decades) will be open for Sikh pilgrims from India and overseas 365 days a year dawn to dusk 7 days a week. The daily handling of pilgrims could potentially generate a direct income of US$37 million every year.
“5000 pilgrims shall be permitted to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahab through the Kartarpur Sahib corridor on any given day, with an additional provision for more pilgrims on special days including Gurpurab, Baisakhi etc. subject to capacity,” stated the agreement signed by the two neighboring countries– among the chill in their relations, the corridor is building bridges on people-to-people basis, observers say.
Pilgrims and their guests are also expected to spend on food, lodging, etc. which experts estimate could generate a mini economy in the vicinity. Anywhere between 3 to 5 times the daily add to government’s coffers could develop on grassroot level and progressively increase.
Conservatively, experts say the mini economy around Kartarpur corridor could range between US$110 million and US$185 million– conditions permitting.
The total ‘special economy’ could then range between US$147m to $222m.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the government’s decision to open Kartarpur Corridor and signing border agreement with India for Sikh community would open vast opportunities for religious tourism.
We are following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon (PBUH), regarding provision of facilities to minorities, he added.
PM Khan will inaugurate the corridor on November 9, after which visa free link between Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur and Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab will open for the pilgrims.
Pakistan has dozens of religious and historical sites countrywide. The incumbent government espouses interfaith harmony and opening of these sites for pilgrims and tourists from all over, as part of its goal to jump-start religious tourism could add a new source of income estimated anywhere from US$1 billion to $2 billion.