The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) expressed dismay at Pakistan not allowing the Indian envoy in Islamabad and consular officials to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib and meet visiting Indian pilgrims. Apart from SGPC, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also strongly condemned the denial.
Terming it a “shocking reflection of Islamabad’s blind and senseless animosity against New Delhi”, he said the neighbouring nation had “stooped to a new low” in its relations with India by bringing religion into its political game-plan
The development has also exposed Islamabad’s “utter disdain” for international and diplomatic conventions, Singh said in a statement.
Taking to Twitter earlier, the senior Congress leader said Pakistan had no right to prevent an Indian official from entering the Gurdwara, which was a religious place open to everyone and not a military institution with restricted access.
Refusal by Islamabad to allow Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria @IndiainPakistan to enter Gurdwara Panja Sahib shows the lows to which Pak can stoop in its anti-India campaign. It was a religious place not a military institution. Urge @SushmaSwaraj to give befitting reply.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) June 23, 2018
SGPC president Gobind Singh Langowal said Saturday that Pakistan’s action was “wrong” and that the officials were to meet pilgrims to enquire about their well-being. “Moreover, it is the duty of officials of the Indian High Commission to meet the people of their country but Pakistan was wrong in preventing them from meeting the pilgrims,” he said.
India on Saturday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the incident.
Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah was summoned and a strong protest was lodged over the denial of access to Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and consular officials to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province and meet the Indian pilgrims despite a travel permission from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
Meanwhile, SGPC additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi said no woman below the age 50 would be allowed to visit Pakistan alone. They can be allowed only after getting undertaking of their family members, he said.
In April, a woman from Punjab, Kiran Bala, who had gone to attend Baisakhi festival, married a Pakistani man in Lahore and embraced Islam.