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India lodges protest with Pak over block of access for visiting pilgrims to Indian diplomats & consular teams

All India Radio 2018-04-15 14:09:32

India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over a block of access for visiting pilgrims to Indian diplomats and consular teams.

In a statement, External Affairs Ministry said this inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy is a clear violation of the Vienna Convention, the bilateral Protocol to visit Religious Shrines and the Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic and consular personnel in India and Pakistan.

A Jatha of around 1800 Sikh yatris has been travelling in Pakistan under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines. The Ministry said a standard practice has been that the Indian High Commission’s consular team is attached with visiting pilgrims to perform consular and protocol duties.

However, this year, the consular team has been denied access to Indian Sikh pilgrims. The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at Wagah Railway Station on 12th of this month.

Similarly, it was denied entry into Gurdwara Panja Sahib yesterday for a scheduled meeting with pilgrims there.

The Ministry added that the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, who was to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib at the invitation of the Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, was suddenly asked to return while en route to the shrine for unspecified security reasons.