India lodges protest after Pakistan stops Sikh pilgrims from meeting Indian diplomats

India lodges protest after Pakistan stops Sikh pilgrims from meeting Indian diplomats

India on Sunday accused Pakistan of violating diplomatic protocols after Islamabad allegedly prevented meetings between visiting Sikh pilgrims and Indian diplomats.

Dr Faisal said it was deeply regrettable that facts in the matter had been completely distorted and misrepresented.

India today summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner here and lodged a strong protest over attempts to raise the Khalistan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims to that country, while asking it to immediately cease all such activities aimed at undermining India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The MEA had called it an "inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy" by Pakistan, holding that these incidents constitute a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The MEA added that on April 14, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan was forced to return while he was on his way to the Gurdwara Panja Sahib.

"Considering an emotionally charged environment and the possibility of any untoward situation, the ETPB authorities contacted the Indian High Commission officials and suggested cancellation of the visit", Faisal claimed.

"Indian allegations regarding prevention of meeting of the Indian High Commissioner with Sikh Yatrees are reprehensible attempts to try to mutate the truth. The ETPB acted with sincerity and in good faith, and the cancellation took place with mutual understanding", said the statement.

The first batch of pilgrims visited Wagah Railway Station on April 12 but the consular team couldn't meet the pilgrims because of Pakistan's clause. He further said that the (Pakistani) Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly processed the matter on April 13 and granted the travel permission.

"The High Commissioner, who was to greet Indian pilgrims on the occasion of Baisakhi, was thus compelled to return without meeting Indian citizens", the statement said.

According to the statement, the Indian consular team was also denied entry into Gurdwara Panja Sahib on Saturday for a scheduled meeting with the pilgrims there.

It may be recalled that Pakistani security agencies including the notorious ISI have always been under the scanner for their suspected role in trying to get pro-Khalistan elements in Europe and North America to instigate Indian Sikh pilgrims who visit Pakistan. "This is consistent with our religious ethos and traditions of hospitality". "We hope that the Indian side would abide by the provisions of the Protocol in letter and spirit".

Dawn reports that India's allegations came a day after Pakistan's Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called for a "comprehensive and meaningful dialogue" between India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir.

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