Pakistani authorities have imposed a ban on the travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to places for which they do not possess a visa, as 1,400 devotees arrived in Lahore to take part in celebrations marking the Baisakhi festival.
The Home Department of Punjab province banned such travel by issuing an official circular, official sources said on Monday.
The circular was sent to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) which looks after shrines of minority communities and organises pilgrimages to such sites, and to law enforcement agencies.
The circular stated it was the duty of authorities "to provide all facilities and protection to the Sikh yatris (pilgrims). But it is important for their (Sikhs') protection to disallow them to visit places for which they are not issued visa by the Pakistan High Commission in India."
Law enforcement agencies and the ETPB were asked by the Home Department to enforce the ban at any cost. The circular said, Pakistanis found taking the pilgrims to cities for which they had not been issued visas would be strictly dealt with.
Official sources said, the Home Department issued the circular following reports that ETPB often entertained requests by the visiting Sikhs to permit them to visit gurdwaras in places for which they had not been issued visas.
Around 1,400 Indian Sikhs arrived in Lahore on Sunday to take part in celebrations marking the Baisakhi festival.