India protests as Pakistan stops Sikh pilgrims from meeting diplomats

India protests as Pakistan stops Sikh pilgrims from meeting diplomats

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said a group of around 1800 Sikh pilgrims are on a visit to Pakistan from April 12 under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines.

"In my take...after this country joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), it started to take serious measures to curb the financing of terror, the credibility of Pakistan is growing and there is no reason, no sense to deny its wish, its will to be a part of regional and global efforts to fight terror, to search for stability and to enhance economic integration", he said during the question and answer session. Also, the MEA added, "The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at Wagah Railway Station on April 12". However, this year, the consular team has been denied access to Indian Sikh pilgrims. "The High Commission was thus prevented from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Indian citizens". MEA said "inflammatory statements" and posters have been seen at various places where the pilgrims visited.

The remarks are also important as the world braces for a new cold war in South Asia, set against the backdrop of a realignment of foreign policies by both Pakistan and India, with India growing closer to Pakistan's traditional ally, the United States, in recent years. "This is consistent with our religious ethos and traditions of hospitality". New Delhi has continued to grant visas - even emergency visas -for Pakistanis seeking medical treatment in India. Men, women and children raised slogans against the controversial movie and urged the Indian government to ban it immediately. Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is built on the historic site where first Sikh master Guru Nanak had settled with his followers.

On Sunday, a furious India had lambasted Pakistan over an incident in which Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria was asked by the Pakistanis to return en route while travelling to the famous Panja Sahib Gurdwara on grounds of "security".

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Shah said this on the sidelines of convocation at Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana.

Sikhs bodies have been demanding a religious corridor for several decades.

Dawn reports that India's allegations came a day after Pakistan's Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called for a "comprehensive and meaningful dialogue" between India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir.

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