Pakistan summoned India’s deputy high commissioner on Friday to lodge a protest over New Delhi’s denial of visas to would-be pilgrims from Pakistan for the annual Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer.
A strong protest was lodged over the denial of visas to 500 pilgrims from Pakistan, a statement issued by the foreign ministry said. “The visits to religious shrines in Pakistan and India are governed under the Bilateral Protocol on Visits to the Religious Shrines, 1974,” it pointed out.
The Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan conveyed its deep disappointment and concern over the denial of visas by the Indian government.
“This is the fourth time that visas have been denied to Pakistani pilgrims in the last one year.
This is not only against the bilateral agreement, but also runs contrary to the efforts towards normalising ties between the two countries and the spirit of people-to-people contacts,” Tasnim Aslam said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2014.