Indian on Friday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged protest against harassment and denial of access to Indian High Commission officials and attempts at hostile propaganda during the visit of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) lodged a strong protest with the Government of Pakistan that despite having been granted prior travel permission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, the Consular officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad were harassed and denied access to Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda.
As a result of such harassment they were compelled to return to Islamabad without performing their diplomatic and consular duties vis-a-vis Indian pilgrims.
The MEA, in a statement, said, “We have shared our grave concern that this is the third consecutive visit of the Indian Sikh pilgrims when Pakistan has prevented the Indian High Commission officials from meeting the visiting Indian nationals on the pretext of security in order to deflect attention from Pakistan’s violation of the international legal instruments and conventions like the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.”
“This is also in breach of the letter and spirit of the 1974 Bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines and the Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan, 1992. Pakistan has been reminded that this is in contrast to the treatment met out to their High Commissioner and the Consular officials in New Delhi who have been provided full access to meet the Pakistani pilgrims who are currently in India on pilgrimage to Kalyar Sharif,” the statement added.
In a landmark decision, on the eve of Guru Nanak Gurupurab, India on Thursday approved building and development of Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to India-Pakistan International Border.
But the resolution on the project was passed by Union Cabinet after months of deliberation, and not in response to a proposal by Pakistan, which continues to create roadblocks for Indian pilgrims.
“We have also expressed grave concern at the reports of attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Indian pilgrims to Pakistan, to incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory to be used for any hostile propaganda and support for secessionist tendencies against India in keeping with the commitments made under the Simla Agreement, 1972 and endorsed in the Lahore Declaration, 1999,” the MEA statement added.
Pakistan has been reminded that such actions are not in consonance with the stated intentions of Pakistan to facilitate the visits of Indian Sikh pilgrims, especially as we commemorate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak.