India denies visit of Katas Raj Pilgrims to Pakistan


ISLAMABAD, Feb 13 (APP):Foreign Office Spokesperson, Dr Muhammad Faisal on Tuesday denied Indian allegations about “Pakistan refusing visas to 173 Katas Raj pilgrims” terming them as completely baseless.
He underscored that Pakistan had made all the arrangements for the visit of the pilgrims, who, regrettably, were forced to withdraw their applications from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi due to non – issuance of NOC by the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
Recently, India has also denied the visits of Sikh pilgrims, followed by that of Zaireens from Pakistan, and now Katas Raj Pilgrims, the opportunity to participate in their religious festivals, said a statement issued here.
Indian actions run counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines and an obstruction for the people to people contacts.
Such steps violate the basic human right to religious freedoms and are indicative of the escalatory ladder on which the government of India has embarked. ‘These are against the spirit of peace and tranquility that Pakistan has been trying to promote’, it added.