Pakistan on Monday expressed disappointment at India for not issuing visas to more than 500 Pakistani pilgrims for visiting the famed shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, which New Delhi said could not take place in view of the prevailing circumstances and absence of requisite security clearances.
The visit was to take place under the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines and is a regular annual feature, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The statement further said that it was “ironic” that India failed to issue visas on the occasion of Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, who for centuries has been the symbol of bringing communities closer to each other.
“Pakistan notes with deep disappointment the non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of the 503 Pakistani zaireen (pilgrims) to participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti (RA) at Ajmer Sharif, India from 19-29 March, 2018,” the statement said.
Sources in New Delhi maintained that such visits were facilitated, promoted and visas granted after following due processes. “From time to time, such visits cannot take place in view of the prevailing circumstances and absence of requisite security clearances. There have been instances in the past when such visits did not take place from both sides,” the Indian government sources said.
In January, 192 Pakistani pilgrims could not participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi due to the non-issuance of visas by India, the Pakistan government said.