For the first time in history,no SGPC jatha will celebrate Baisakhi in Pakistani gurdwaras as the Pakistan Embassy,according to the SGPC,has denied visas to all 1,400 applicants whose names had been forwarded by the apex Sikh body.
Terming the whole situation as unfortunate,SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar,who was in Chandigarh on Tuesday,said the Embassys decision amounted to snatching the rights of Sikhs to pay obeisance at their religious places. He added that the SGPC would soon take up the matter with the neighbouring countrys Embassy in New Delhi.
Makkar also claimed that the SGPC had submitted the list of Sikh devotees well in time,but the Centre forwarded the list to the Pakistani Embassy only on April 4.
SGPC assistant secretary Jaspal Singh,who looks after the travel of SGPC jathas,said he was unaware of the reasons behind the visa-denial. There had been a dilly-dallying approach and the SGPC was told that only 100 or 200 people would get visas. How can we accept that when we had submitted a list of 1,400 people. Now,visas have been denied to all applicants, he added.