Pakistan regrets India’s visa refusal to devotees

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has regretted the last-minute visa denial by India for the visit of 192 Pakistani devotees to participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia (RA) in Delhi from Jan 1 to 8.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal in a statement issued Saturday said the visit was to take place under the provisions of the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines and is a regular annual feature.

As a result of this Indian decision, the Pakistani devotees will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Urs beginning from Monday. The spokesperson said this is unfortunate and runs counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Protocol and objective of people-to-people contacts.

He said such measures also undermine the efforts aimed at improving the environment and normalising relations between the two countries.

Dr Muhammad Faisal said it is ironic that the visas were not issued to Pakistani Zaireen on the occasion of Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya who was a symbol of bringing communities closer to each other.

Hundreds of Pakistanis travel to Delhi every year to visit the last abode of the Sufi saint on the occasion of his annual Urs to pay respects.

A large number of Pakistanis had submitted visa applications to the Indian High Commission this year, which were rejected.

Earlier in October last year, India had also rejected visa applications of at least 75 Pakistani pilgrims wanting to visit a shrine near Agra on procedural grounds.


INP adds: India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has summoned Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Ajay Bisaria to hold consultations over the matter of family reunion of spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

India has alleged that Jadhav’s family was harassed while they were visiting him in Pakistan. Swaraj claimed that the visit was used by Pakistan for propaganda purposes.

On December 25, Jadhav’s mother and wife met him at the Pakistani Foreign Office in Islamabad. The meeting was allowed by Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.

Jadhav confessed to his role as an Indian spy and terrorist during the meeting with his family, according to reports in the Indian media.

During the meeting with his mother Avanti and wife Chetna on December 25 in Islamabad, Jadhav admitted he was an Indian spy and had engineered a spate of terror attacks on Pakistani soil.

The meeting lasted almost 40 minutes, the Pakistan Foreign Office said. Indian diplomats, including Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, accompanied Jadhav’s family and were present during the meeting, which was conducted in a specially prepared room via an intercom through a glass partition.


Our Staff Reporter

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