Spoiling ‘peace initiative’, India denies visas to 170 Pakistani pilgrims

Pakistan issues visa allowing Indian man to meet his family separated 74 years ago

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The Indian government on Friday denied visas to 170 Pakistani tourists who completed their preparations for a tour to the neighboring country starting from January 29 (Saturday).

According to Faith Tourism Coordinator MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar, the Indian government denied the visas on the pretext of Covid-19 restrictions.

He said that 170 tourists had registered for the tour and the group wanted to visit Ajmer Sharif, New Delhi, Mith, Jaipur and other areas of India.

The visit was supposed to conclude on February 1 but it has been deferred after the Indian government’s refusal. Diplomatic sources told The Express Tribune that there is no agreement on visit visas between Pakistan and India.

They said that Pakistan and Indian pilgrims visit each other’s countries as per the existing 1974 agreement, adding that Pakistan had issued visas to Indian tourists earlier.

They further said that India will not recognize the efforts of any individual for faith tourism between the two countries, adding that both nations would have to negotiate to resolve the issue.

Pakistan High Commission in India Friday issued a visa to an Indian citizen allowing him to meet his family members in Pakistan who had been separated 74 years ago due to the partition.

“Today, Pakistan High Commission issues visa to Sika Khan to visit his brother, Muhammed Siddique and other family members in Pakistan,” Pakistan High Commission announced on Twitter.

The two brothers, separated in 1947, were recently reunited after 74 years at Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

Pakistan issues visa allowing Indian man to meet his family separated 74 years ago

The story of the two brothers is a powerful illustration of how the historic opening of the visa-free Kartarpur Sahib Corridor by Pakistan is bringing people closer to each other.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the Corridor in 2019 on the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak – an initiative lauded by the Sikh community in India as well as across the world.

 

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