Less than 24 hours after India and Pakistan reached an agreement over the opening of Kartarpur corridor, Delhi has strongly protested against the alleged harassment of Indian High Commission officials and denial of access to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan.
“Despite having been granted prior travel permission by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, the Consular officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad were harassed and denied access on November 21 and 22 at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Sacha Sauda,” the MEA said in a statement on Friday.
The high commission officials were forced to return to Islamabad without performing their consular duties vis-a-vis Indian pilgrims, the MEA added.
In a statement, the MEA said India has also expressed grave concern at the reports of attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Indian pilgrims to Pakistan, “to incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
There were reports that pro-Khalistani banners were shown to the Indian pilgrims in Pakistan.
It said Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory to be used for any “hostile propaganda” and support for “secessionist tendencies” against India.
On Thursday, the Cabinet approved the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak village in Gurdaspur to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. Within hours of the announcement, the Pakistan government responded that it has decided to open the corridor. The length of the corridor is about 4 km, 2 km on either side of the international border.
The move from both sides signalled a thaw in relations after India pulled out of a foreign minister-level meeting with Pakistan in the US.