SGPC condemns Pak Embassy denying visas to Sikh pilgrims

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee said the move has denigrated the sanctity of the top religious body.

Chandigarh: Taking strong exception to the Pakistan Embassy denying visas to 1,400 pilgrims keen on paying obeisance at Sikh shrines in that country, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Tuesday said the move has denigrated the sanctity of the top religious body.

SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said that like every year, this time a list of 1,400 Sikh devotees had been forwarded to Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi to grant them visa, but was denied last week.

Condemning the move, Makkar said it was the right of every Sikh devotee to visit places of religious importance, adding that the devotees each year go to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi to pay obeisance at the shrine.

Nankana Sahib is a popular pilgrimage site for Sikhs from all over the world where the founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak Dev was born on April 15, 1469.

The SGPC president alleged that the Pakistan Embassy while denying group pilgrimage visa to the Sikh body, has given visa to small groups associated with other NGOs.

He said that Pakistan Embassy had kept 60 per cent quota for pilgrimage visa to Sikh devotees sponsored by SGPC and alleged that this time the embassy denied them visa without any specific reason.