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Pakistan Regrets Non-issuance Of Visas To Zaireen By India

Indian has declined to issue visas to 192 Pakistani Zaireen to participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi next week.

Pakistan has regretted the last minute postponement and non-issuance of visas by India.

The visit was to take place under the provisions of the 1974 Pakistan-India protocol on visits to religious shrines and is a regular, annual feature.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says as a result of this Indian decision, the Pakistani Zaireen would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Urs, which is of special significance.

The statement said this is unfortunate and runs counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 protocol and objective of people-to-people contacts.

Earlier this year, despite Pakistan’s offer to send a special train, Indian delays had resulted in Sikh Yatrees (pilgrims) from India being unable to participate in the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The statement said besides being violative of the bilateral protocol, and the basic human right to religious freedom, such measures also undermine the efforts aimed at improving the environment, increasing people-to-people contacts and normalizing relations between the two countries.

The foreign office's statement further said it is ironic that this was done on the occasion of Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya who was a symbol of bringing communities closer to each other.