Pakistan issues visas to over 1,100 Indian pilgrims

Under the framework of the India-Pakistan Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals and occasions every year.
PUBLISHED ON APR 07, 2021 07:50 PM IST
The issuance of pilgrimage visas is part of the Pakistan government’s efforts for facilitating visits to religious shrines. (Image used for representation). (AFP PHOTO.)

Pakistan has issued visas to more than 1,100 Indian Sikh pilgrims to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations during April 12-22.

The visas were issued as a special gesture by the Pakistan government in “view of the importance of Baisakhi for Punjabis and Sikhs marking the start of their new year”, the Pakistan high commission said on Wednesday.

The move comes amid a perceived thaw in bilateral relations about the time that Indian and Pakistani militaries began adhering to the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in February.

The Pakistan government recently deferred a move to import cotton and sugar from India in order to control prices and overcome a domestic shortage after facing opposition from some federal ministers.

The Pakistan high commission extended special felicitations to those celebrating Baisakhi and hoped the visiting pilgrims would have a “fulfilling yatra”.

Under the framework of the India-Pakistan Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals and occasions every year.

The issuance of pilgrimage visas is part of the Pakistan government’s efforts for facilitating visits to religious shrines, the high commission said.

“This also reflects the commitment of the government of Pakistan to faithfully implement the bilateral Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines,” it said.

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