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Pakistan Customs to fully accommodate Sikh pilgrims at Wagah border

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Lahore: More than 2,000 Sikh pilgrims are expected to come from India through Wagah border on the eve of Baisakhi in Pakistan next week.

Sources told reporters that Pakistan Customs has assured the authorities of its full cooperation to facilitate the passengers. Sources said that an important meeting was held to discuss all issues regarding their arrival and departure at Wagah border.

A total of 3,800 Sikh yatris will visit Pakistan to celebrate the Baisakhi festival in April, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq said on Wednesday.

“The main ceremony will be held at Gurdwara Panja Sahib at Hasan Abdal on April 14…We hope that the Sikh yatris take back good memories from our country,” he said.

The Pakistan Customs officials, Punjab Rangers, Evacuee Trust Punjab, Police and WAPDA representatives participated in the meeting and discussed their issues and ways of cooperation for providing with a good gesture to guests coming for their Besakhi rituals in Lahore, Hassan Abdal and Nankana Sahib.

Sources said that more than 20,000 Sikh pilgrims are expected to participate this year in Baisakhi. Pakistan has issued two thousand visas to Indian Sikhs seven hundred visas for Sikh community of America, Canada, Britain and other European countries.

(The article was first published in customstoday.com.pk)

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IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to "isolate" its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

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IOC, Olympic, India, tokyo games, pakistan
FILE - Shimaa Hashad of Egypt takes part in a pratice session with an air rifle at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

The International Olympic Committee on Thursday canceled places for the 2020 Tokyo Games shooting competition to be awarded at an event in India after the host country refused to give visas to Pakistani shooters, the head of the sport’s governing body said.

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to “isolate” its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

Sixteen qualifying places for the Tokyo Games were to be decided at the opening shooting World Cup event in New Delhi. But Vladimir Lisin, president of the ISSF world body, said these would now go to other qualifying events.

“The International Olympic Committee informed us this World Cup will not be included in the competitions for Olympic quotas,” Lisin, himself an IOC executive member, told the tournament opening ceremony late Thursday.

“The quotas will be distributed at another World Cup. No one can be discriminated against and we have to follow the IOC decision as part of the IOC family,” he added.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

The IOC said it was deliberating on the controversy and would soon announce a decision.

Over 500 shooters are taking part in the Indian event, for which competition starts Saturday.

Pakistan, which has denied any role in the Kashmir attack, says two shooters and a coach were denied visas to attend the contest.

Lisin said the International Shooting Sport Federation and the Indian organizing committee had done everything possible to get the shooters to the contest.

But National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said he could not go against the Indian government’s decision.

Singh also insisted no final decision on the Olympic places had been taken.

“Nothing is canceled as of now. The status as of now is we don’t know,” Singh told reporters. “There are meetings that are going on where the position is being assessed by the IOC and the government.”

ALSO READ: Judge Order Government Find Separated Children at US-Mexico Border

Amid widespread anger over last week’s Kashmir attack, some calls have also been made for India’s cricket team to boycott its scheduled World Cup game against Pakistan in England later this year.

Media reports said Indian cricket’s governing body, the BCCI, had prepared a letter calling for Pakistan to be banned from the cricket World Cup. (VOA)