IND-PAK

Pak's “deep disappointment'' over non-issuance of visas for Urs pilgrimage

India Pakistan The intensity of battle between India and Pakistan diplomats has continued

The intensity of battle between India and Pakistan diplomats has continued. Adding another to the growing list of complaints against India, Pakistan on Monday expressed “deep disappointment'' for the non-issuance of visas to pilgrims to participate in Urs in Ajmer.

India has allegedly not issued visas to 503 pilgrims. “The visit was to take place under the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol of Visits to Religious Shrines and is a regular annual feature,'' a statement from the office of the spokesperson read. In January, India did not allow 192 pilgrims to attend the Urs of Sufi saint Nizammudin Auilya, according to the spokesperson.

This move undermines the “effort aimed at improving the environment, increasing people-to-people contacts and normalising relations between the two countries,'' the issued statement read. Pakistan blames "Indian delays'' for Sikh pilgrims not visiting their shrines. The statement says that in 2017, Pakistan had offered to send a special train for pilgrims to visit the shrines of Guru Arjan Dev and Ranjit Singh for their martyrdom and death anniversary, respectively.

“Similarly, in February 2018, the government of Pakistan had made all the arrangements for the visit of 173 Katas Raj pilgrims, who, regrettably, were forced to withdraw their applications from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi due to non-issuance of necessary clearance by the Ministry of External Affairs in India,'' said the spokesperson's office.

These charges come a day after fresh allegations of harassment of Indian officials in Pakistan surfaced. A note verbale was sent on Sunday by the Indian High Commission to the ministry of foreign affairs in Pakistan. Three incidents were highlighted according to sources, including the second secretary at the high commission being intimidated by people in a car. He was reportedly going to a restaurant when he was followed by unidentified people in a car.

The website of the Indian High Commission is being blocked, sources claimed. There was also another incident where Indian officials were followed aggressively on a motorbike while going to a market. This note verbale was the 13th to be issued by India, sources claimed.