India summons Pak deputy HC; protests raising of Khalistan with Sikh pilgrims
INDIA on Monday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner here and lodged a strong protest over attempts being made to raise the Khalistan issue during the visit of Sikh pilgrims to that country.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan was called upon to immediately stop all such activities that were aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and incitement of disharmony in India. “A strong protest was lodged at attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Sikh pilgrims from India to Pakistan to raise the issue of Khalistan by making inflammatory statements and displaying posters at various places of pilgrims visit in Pakistan,” the ministry said.
It was conveyed that such repeated attempts by authorities and entities in Pakistan to extend support to secessionist movements in India amount to interference in its internal affairs, the MEA said. It also said such incidents during the visit of Indian pilgrims went against the spirit of the bilateral protocol of 1974 governing the exchange of visits of pilgrims between the two countries. The summoning of Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner came a day after India protested over blocking of access of visiting Sikh pilgrims to Indian diplomats in that country. The MEA had on Sunday said around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims are on a visit to Pakistan from April 12 under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines. It had said the Indian High Commissioner, who was to greet Indian pilgrims on the occasion of Baisakhi, was compelled to return when he was en route to Gurdwara Panja Sahib.
Indian envoy who was to greet the Indian pilgrims at Gurdwara Panja Sahib was compelled to return midway
Pilgrims march during Basakhi celebrations at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hasan Abdal on Sunday