Pakistan inciting Sikh pilgrims, says India

Pakistani pacer

"A strong protest was lodged at attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Sikh pilgrims from India to Pakistan to raise the issue of "Khalistan" by making inflammatory statements and displaying posters" at various places of pilgrimage in Pakistan, the ministry said.

Pakistan's deputy high commissioner was summoned and informed about the strong condemnation by India on such efforts by Pakistan, said the statement.

"It is ironic for the Government of India to accuse Pakistan of violating the 1974 Protocol whereas they, in clear violation of the Protocol, have twice denied visas to Pakistani pilgrims on occasions of Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (RA) and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri (RA) this year, and scuttled at least three visits of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims to religious monuments in Pakistan since June 2017", it added.

Commenting on the MEA statement, the Foreign Office spokesperson on Sunday termed the allegations as "baseless".

"The Indian High Commissioner, who was to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib at the invitation of the Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), was suddenly asked to return while en route the shrine for unspecified "security" reasons", the Ministry said. In fact, in an expansive gesture, India last Diwali day made a decision to immediately grant medical visas for all the deserving cases that were pending on that day.


The Pakistan High Commission has not given any response. "Our team of officials was given not permission to meet the pilgrims and they were given no explanation".

"The matter relating to the Protocol team's access on the arrival of the Jatha at Wagha was expeditiously resolved through the intervention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs".

The Sikh pilgrims are visiting Pakistan as part of the Baisakhi celebrations which mark the beginning of the Punjabi New Year. Also, the reports are claiming that commission from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Indian citizens.

Faisal said that there was no scheduled meeting with pilgrims on Saturday.

It further said that such incidents during the visit of the Indian pilgrims went against the spirit of the bilateral Protocol of 1974 governing the exchange of visits of pilgrims between the two countries.

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