FO rejects India’s concerns over Sikh pilgrims visiting Pak

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has rejected baseless Indian concerns about Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan for a religious pilgrimage, clarifying that the pilgrims would be fully facilitated during the trip.

“Pakistan provides maximum facilitation to the Sikh Yatris from all over the world, including India, for visiting their religious sites in Pakistan,” the Foreign Office Spokesman, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

Earlier, India had not given permission to around 600 Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan from Feb 18 to 25 for the 100th anniversary of Saka Nankana Sahib. The Sikh pilgrims were expected to visit five gurdwaras in Pakistan.

in a letter, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs had said that they would not allow Sikh pilgrims permission to visit Pakistan, citing the “capacity of health infrastructure in Pakistan”.

India had expressed safety concerns about the Sikh Pilgrims as well.

Foreign Office Spokesman, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri reiterated that Pakistan had opened the largest and the holiest Sikh shrine in Kartarpur Sahib to facilitate Sikh Pilgrims. “The Sikh as well as the international community, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who while visiting Kartarpur described it as ‘Corridor of Hope’, have immensely appreciated this landmark initiative of Pakistan,” Chaudhri said.

“The Sikh community remains particularly appreciative of the efforts made by Pakistan to complete the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Project in record time and for the excellent arrangements made to facilitate the pilgrims,” he added.

India, the spokesman said, should also facilitate Sikh pilgrims instead of creating undue hurdles.

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