The government on Tuesday advised Indian pilgrims against visiting Pakistan in view of the deteriorating security situation reflected by the series of attacks on the security establishment.
“The government of India is of the view that it is not advisable for the Indian pilgrims to visit Pakistan in the prevailing situation when frequent terrorist attacks are taking place in Punjab province of Pakistan, where all gurdwaras are situated,” a Home Ministry statement said on Tuesday, the first to be issued by Delhi.
“Accordingly, the government advises all Indian citizens to avoid undertaking any visit to Pakistan for this purpose, till the security situation in Pakistan improves.”
Nearly 200 people have been killed in the latest wave of violence that started with a suicide bombing at the offices of the UN World Food Programme in Islamabad on Oct 5. Five days later, terrorists in military uniform laid siege to the army headquarters in Rawalpindi that killed 10 people.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), apex religious body of Sikhs, however, was undeterred and urged the Centre to clear visas of pilgrims for visit to Pakistan on the occasion of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November two, a PTI report from Chandigarh said.
“Its our religious matter... sentiments of Sikhs are attached to it... we must get visas to visit Pakistan,” SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said, responding to the central advisory.
“We must get visas first and later will be deciding on whether to send the delegation or not on the occasion of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev,” Makkar said.
He said a Sikh delegation had already visited Pakistan earlier this month and it was provided adequate security by the government there.