ISLAMABAD - Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sahibzada Noor-ul-Haq Qadri Monday said India has refused to issue visas to the intending Pakistani aspirants of attending the forthcoming Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti being held in Ajmir Sharif, India this month.

In a statement, the minister said India has refused visas to Pakistan pilgrims desiring to attend the Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti for second consecutive year, exposing the real face of India which has indeed become hostage in the hands of religious extremists. He said the Indian embassy in Islamabad has informed the ministry via telephone about refusal of visas. The ministry has conveyed the pilgrims through short Messaging Services (SMS) on mobile telephone.

Indian embassy has not yet returned the passports of intending pilgrims. He said 500 Pakistan religious pilgrims were scheduled to leave for Ajmir Sharif (India) on March 7, to attend the Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmiri scheduled to be held this month.

On contrary, he said, Pakistan has issued 5,600 visas to Sikh and 312 Hindu Yatrees this year. As many as 98 Sikh Yatrees have already reached Pakistan to visit their sacred religious places. Earlier, he said, India had issued only 190 visas from out of 400 sought for participating in the Urs of Alauddin Sabir and Nizamuddin Auliya.



Hajj application submission date extended


ISLAMABAD (APP): Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Monday extended the last date of submitting Government Hajj Scheme applications to March 9.

A spokesman of the ministry said in a statement that the balloting to choose lucky persons would be conducted on March 11 instead of March 9.

The last date of submitting hajj application has been extended from March 6 on public demand and to facilitate intending pilgrims of specially snowfall and flood hit areas, who were facing difficulties in submitting applications due to variety of reasons.