India has registered a strong protest at the refusal of the Pakistan government to grant a visa to a group of 87 pilgrims who wanted to visit the neighbouring country to observe the death anniversary of fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Dev on June 7, official sources told Zee News on Friday. As per the Sikh religion, the event is also called Shahidi Jor Mela of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. The visa for the pilgrims was sought under a 1974 bilateral protocol on a visit to religious shrines.
The pilgrims, who were denied a visa, were part of the official jatha (group), the sources said, adding that restrictive visa was granted to a private group of Indian pilgrims.
The MEA has registered its strong protest at Pakistan government's refusal to grant visa for official jatha comprising 87 pilgrims on the occasion of Shahidi Jor Mela - Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Martyrdom Day on 7 June 2019, the sources said. The MEA had earlier requested visas for the pilgrims.
The ministry expressed its concern at the disregard shown by the High Commission of Pakistan on the religious sentiments and devotion of the Indian pilgrims especially by Pakistan unilaterally granting restrictive visa (by rail only) to a private group of Indian pilgrims. The MEA has called upon Pakistan to immediately grant visa without any restriction.