India denies visa to Pakistani pilgrims to attend Sufi shrine Urs
NEW DELHI: India has declined to issue visas to Pakistani pilgrims intending to attend the Urs celebrations of revered Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya in the Indian capital, ARY News reported.
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 Pakistani citizens had submitted visa applications to the India High Commission this year, which were rejected.
Spokesperson for the Foreign Office Dr Muhammad Faisal has deplored the denial of visa to Pakistani citizens and termed it violation of a bilateral agreement with regard to visits to religious sites.
He said Indian decision to reject visa applications was inconsistent with the principles of Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, 1974, between the two countries.
Faisal said, “India is obstructing the process of bring ties between the two countries to normalcy by denying contacts on public level.”
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.
Ties between the two countries remained tense this year with the heavily militarized Line of Control (LoC), dividing the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir between the two, so often witnessing skirmishes and ceasefire violations.
India breached the ceasefire on the LoC more than 1300 occasions in the year, which led to over 50 civilian casualties and more than two hundreds sustained injuries.