India has denied visas to 74 Pakistani pilgrims who wanted to visit a shrine near Agra, on the advice of local administration and procedural issues.
“Seventy-four Pakistan pilgrims have been denied visa by the Indian authorities. These pilgrims belonging to various parts of Pakistan have expressed resentment on rejection of their visas,” a spokesperson for the Pakistan High Commission said on Monday.
He said the pilgrims wanted to attend an annual gathering at the Hafiz Abdullah Shah shrine near Agra from January 11-18.
“This is inconsistent with the 1974 pilgrim protocol between the two countries. Pakistan has been issuing visas to Indian pilgrims in accordance with the protocol,” the spokesperson said.
When asked for a comment, Vikas Swarup, spokesperson in the ministry of external affairs, said the visa applications of the group were rejected on the ground of procedural issues.
He said that under the protocol on visits to religious shrines, an organising committee or local authorities were required to extend logistical support to the visa applicants.
But in this case, there was no organising committee to take care of the pilgrims. Nor were local authorities ready to extend support to the group.