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India protests after Pakistan stops diplomats and Sikh pilgrims to enter Gurudwaras

NEW DELHI: India on Friday lodged a formal complaint with Pakistan against the harassment of High Commission officials and denying them access to meet Indian Sikh pilgrims at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda in the neighbouring country.

Terming it an “attempts at hostile propaganda,” the Minister of External Affairs said that the Indian officials were denied access despite prior permission from Pakistan government.

 

“India has today lodged a strong protest with the Government of Pakistan that despite having been granted prior travel permission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, the Consular officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad were harassed and denied access on 21 November and 22 November 2018 at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda to the Indian pilgrims visiting Pakistan under the Bilateral Protocol. As a result of such harassment they were compelled to return to Islamabad without performing their diplomatic and consular duties vis-a-vis Indian pilgrims,” said the MEA.

Pakistan stopped the diplomats from meeting Indian pilgrims visiting Gurudwara Sacha Sauda in Farooqabad near Lahore on Thursday. According to news agency ANI, the pilgrims and officials were also insulted outside the Gurudwara.

This is the third consecutive instance of Sikh pilgrims being stopped on the pretext of security concerns, added the Ministry.

“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.

“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 and endorsed in the Lahore Declaration, 1999,” the minister said in a release.

“Pakistan has been reminded that such actions are not in consonance with the stated intentions of Pakistan to facilitate the visits of Indian Sikh pilgrims, especially as we commemorate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji,” it added.