ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan has regretted the last minute postponement and non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of the 192 Pakistani Zaireen to participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia (RA) in Delhi from January 1-8, 2018.
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.
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 Foreign Office said a press release issued in Islamabad on Saturday.
“This is unfortunate and runs counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Protocol and objective of people-to-people contacts,” the Foreign Office said.
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.
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.
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, the Foreign Office said.