ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal on Tuesday denied Indian allegations about “Pakistan refusing visas to 173 Katas Raj pilgrims”, terming them completely baseless.
He said that Pakistan had made all arrangements for the visit of the pilgrims. He regretted that the pilgrims were forced to withdraw their applications from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi due to non-issuance of no-objection certificates by the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
Recently, India had also denied the visits of Sikh pilgrims, followed by those of visitors from Pakistan, and now Katas Raj pilgrims, the opportunity to participate in their religious festivals, said the spokesperson.
Indian actions run counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines and an obstruction for the people-to-people contacts.
“Such steps violate the basic human right to religious freedoms and are indicative of the escalatory ladder on which the government of India has embarked,” said Faisal. “These are against the spirit of peace and tranquility that Pakistan has been trying to promote,” it added.