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Sartaj Aziz not allowed to visit Golden Temple, claims Pakistan; India cites security concerns

Indian government sources said the permission was not given considering his security.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: December 4, 2016 9:38:17 pm
Sartaj Aziz, Sartaj Aziz India, Heart of Asia conference, India Pakistan bilateral meeting, Abdul Basit, news, latest news, India news, national news Pakistan’s foreign affairs adviser to prime minister Sartaj Aziz. (AP Photo)

Pakistan on Sunday claimed that its Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz was not allowed to visit the Golden Temple and speak to Pakistani mediapersons at the hotel where he was staying, even as India said it was done due to security considerations. Sources in the Pakistani High Commission said Aziz had planned to visit the Golden Temple but was not allowed citing security concerns. Aziz, who arrived here last evening, wanted to interact with Pakistani mediapersons who accompanied him at the Radisson Blue hotel, the venue of the Heart of Asia conference, but was not given permission by security personnel, the sources said.

Indian government sources said the permission was not given considering his security. “Security was very tight. Permission was not given due to security reasons. Security of our guests is paramount. India ensured no untoward incident took place,” they said.

There was a tiff between Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and security personnel at the hotel after they denied Pakistani journalists entry to the venue. After security personnel denied permission for Aziz’s interaction with the Pakistani media at the conference venue, the Pakistani High Commission planned the interaction at another hotel but that too was not allowed, the Pakistani High Commission sources said. Later, Basit spoke to the Pakistani media. Aziz left for Pakistan by a special aircraft around 8 PM.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had visited the Golden Temple yesterday, while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited it today. Apparently, the parents of Hamid Ansari, who is at present lodged in a jail in Pakistan, were waiting for a meeting with Aziz at the Golden Temple.

Mumbai-based Fauzia Ansari and her husband Nihal had come here, hoping to request Aziz to release their son from prison, who has already completed his jail term. Hamid, an IT engineer and MBA degree holder, had gone to Kabul on November 4, 2012 from where he reached Pakistan allegedly to meet a Pakistani girl he had been in touch with through e-mails.

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