Pakistan bars Indian envoy Ajay Bisaria from visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahib

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New Delhi, 23 Jun 2018: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was on Saturday prevented from visiting Gurudwara Panja Sahib at Hasan Abdal near Rawalpindi. Indian officials said Bisaria had to return to Islamabad despite having obtained all necessary permissions for the visit in advance. He was accompanied by his wife.


India has taken up the issue with Pakistan’s foreign ministry. Despite the understanding reached in late March to revive the 1992 Code of Conduct, which is meant to shield diplomats from frequent turbulence in ties, incidents of harassment have continued in both Delhi and Islamabad, as reported by TOI on June 16.


Bisaria was also supposed to meet Sikh pilgrims at the Gurudwara.


This is the second time in the past two months that Bisaria had been forced to return to Islamabad while on his way to Panja Sahib, an important centre of pilgrimage for Guru Nanak devotees. The first was in April when other Indian officials too were denied access to the Gurudwara and pilgrims.


India had then lodged a strong protest with Pakistan for preventing Sikh pilgrims from meeting Indian diplomats. According to Indian officials, Pakistan prevents such meetings to allow its agencies to brainwash pilgrims into supporting the Khalistan movement.


Within the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions every year.


Pakistan had said yesterday that it had issued visas to over 300 Sikh pilgrims from India to observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore from 21-30 June 20l8.

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