Pakistan on Tuesday rejected Indian allegations of “attempts to incite Indian pilgrims” on the issue of ‘Khalistan.’ India yesterday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over attempts to raise the Khalistan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims to that country, while asking Islamabad to immediately cease all such activities aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Reacting to New Delhi’s action, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said, “By spreading such falsehoods, India has chosen to deliberately stoke further controversy around the visit of Sikh pilgrims, currently attending the Baisakhi and Khalsa Janamdin ceremonies in Pakistan.” It said Pakistan welcomes Hindu and Sikh pilgrims from all over the world, including India.
Pakistan has made arrangements to extend maximum facilitation to the visiting Sikh pilgrims during their visits to sacred places in Pakistan, the FO said. It said the Sikh community has been protesting against the Government of India for screening a controversial movie in India, which hurts their religious sentiments. “These protests had started in India and other parts of the world before the Sikh Yatrees arrived in Pakistan,” the FO said.
In view of the charged situation and the explicit refusal of the Sikh Yatrees to meet Indian officials, the Indian High Commissioner cancelled his visit on April 14, 2018, the FO said. “Indian attempts to distort the truth and obfuscate facts are unethical and regrettable,” it said.
“No amount of Indian propaganda could succeed in turning this right into a wrong,” it claimed. India should respect the international and inter-state norms, respect all religions, especially minorities, and refrain from indulging in pointless provocation which only vitiates an already charged environment to the detriment of all, the FO said.