“Pakistan regrets the last minute postponement and non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of 192 devotees to participate in the Urs,” it said.
Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday accused India of rejecting visa applications of 192 Pakistani pilgrims who were scheduled to reach Delhi to attend Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya’s Urs from January 1-8, 2018.
The visit, organised under the provisions of the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, is an annual feature, the foreign office said in a statement.
“Pakistan regrets the last minute postponement and non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of 192 devotees to participate in the Urs,” it said. “As a result of this Indian decision, the Pakistani zaireen (devotees) would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Urs, which is of special significance,” the statement added.
The Indian decision is “unfortunate and runs counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Protocol and objective of people-to-people contacts,” Pakistan said.
“It is ironic that this was done on the occasion of Urs of Hazrat Nizamud-din Auliya who was a symbol of bringing communities closer to each other,” the foreign office added. Besides being violative of the bilateral protocol, and the basic human right to religious freedom, such measures also undermine efforts aimed at improving the environment, increasing people-to-people contacts and normalising relations between the two countries, it said.