India lodges protests with Pakistan for inciting Sikh pilgrims

Leslie Hanson
April 17, 2018

India on Monday lodged a fresh protest with Pakistan over its diplomats not being allowed to meet Sikh pilgrims at Nankana Sahib gurudwara, two persons familiar with the development said.

Islamabad yesterday called India's protest over consular access "ironic" and claimed that New Delhi, too, "twice within this year denied visas to Pakistani pilgrims on occasions of Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri and scuttled at least three visits of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims to religious shrines in Pakistan since June 2017", reported Dawn newspaper.

In a statement, the MEA also said the Indian High Commissioner, who was to greet Indian pilgrims on the occasion of Baisakhi, was compelled to return when he was en route to Gurdwara Panja Sahib on Saturday.

"Considering an emotionally charged environment and the possibility of any untoward situation, the ETPB authorities contacted the Indian High Commission officials and suggested cancellation of the visit", Faisal claimed.

This is the second diplomatic protest on the matter in as many days.

"The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at the Wagah railway Station on April 12".

"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.

A press statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry conveyed to Islamabad that by not allowing such a meeting, it had shown diplomatic discourtesy.

As per the reports, MEA said, "A standard practice has been that the Indian High Commission's consular/protocol team is attached with visiting pilgrims, to perform consular and protocol duties, like helping out in medical or family emergencies".

You all should keep that in mind around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims + from India had traveled to Pakistan last Thursday to celebrate Baisakhi festival at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Rawalpindi district.

A group of around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims is now in Islamabad to visit holy sites and shrines. "Moreover, 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", it added.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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