A day before Pakistan prime minister Raja Parvez Ashraf's visit to Ajmer Sharif, the spiritual head of the Sufi shrine announced he would boycott the visit to protest the killing and beheading of Indian soldiers along the Line of Control.
“Ashraf is an unwelcome man at the dargah, as he is the head of the government of a country whose army, in gross violation of international rules, severed the head of our soldier in January,” the diwan of the shrine, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, said in a statement on Friday.
The recent ceasefire violations and killings of Indian soldiers heightened tensions between the two countries and New Delhi had lodged a strong protest over Pakistani troops beheading Lance Naik Hemraj and taking away his head on January 8.
Terming Ashraf's visit a dishonour to the families of the slain Indian soldiers, Khan said, “I will not welcome him... They should bring back the heads of our soldiers and tender an unconditional apology for the dastardly act. I have not completed any of the paperwork to welcome Ashraf or his family.”
According to shrine customs, the diwan — a descendant of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti — welcomes visiting dignitaries and escorts them to the sanctum.