New Delhi: With India denying the visa to 75 Pakistani pilgrims, a new diplomatic tension seems to have brewed up.
Notably, India’s denial came following the notorious attack at the airbase at Pathankot.
Pakistan stated that the pilgrims who had already assembled in Lahore on Saturday to visit the Hafiz Abdullah Shah shrine in Agra were told by Indian authorities that visas would not be made available to them.
Pakistan termed the denial as “inconsistent” and alleged that India was not following the 1974 bilateral protocol on visits to religious shrines by pilgrims from either country.
Pakistan also protested India’s decision though Indian authorities clarified the issue to be related to this shrine in particular. They said no guarantee for Pakistani visitors could be provided since there was no organising committee there.
“These pilgrims were travelling to attend the annual gathering of Hafiz Abdullah Shah Shrine near Agra from 11-18 January. Pakistan has been issuing visas to Indian pilgrims in accordance with the protocol,” said a Pakistani official.
Indian officials claimed that the presence of an organising committee member or local authorities is required to extend logistical support to the visitors and provide an undertaking to not use the visa for visits to any other place. This comes under the protocol on shrine visits.
The India officials opposed the allegation from Pakistan saying the decision of not issuing visas had nothing to do with the uncertainty over foreign secretary dialogue. (Inputs from agencies)(picture courtesy: ibtimes.com)