India protests Pakistan's denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims

 SMTV Desk 2018-11-23 16:23:02  Ministry of External Affairs, Indian pilgrims, pakistan
India protests Pakistan's denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims

New Delhi, Nov 23: India on Friday strongly protested against its diplomats being prevented from meeting the Indian pilgrims visiting Nankana Sahib and other holy places related to Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, in Pakistan.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release that Pakistan denied the diplomats from performing their duties despite earlier having committed to provide them access to the pilgrims. The protest came a day after both sides agreed to open a cross-border corridor for devotees to visit the famed Sikh temple at Kartarpur in Pakistan s Punjab.

“We have also expressed grave concern at the reports of attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Indian pilgrims to Pakistan, to incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the MEA. Pakistan has issued around 3,700 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India for the festivities that will cover Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda.

India maintained that Pakistan’s treatment of the Indian consular officials is in contrast to the treatment that India has accorded to the Pakistani diplomats, who were allowed to meet with the Pakistani pilgrims visiting Kalyar Sharif.

“Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory to be used for any hostile propaganda and support for secessionist tendencies against India in keeping with the commitments made under the Simla Agreement, 1972,” said the MEA.

The statement reflects India’s concerns that came to the forefront after a grenade attack in Punjab earlier this week was traced allegedly to Pakistani sources.