New Delhi [India], April 17 : Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah on Tuesday underscored that Islamabad is “always happy to host Sikh pilgrims.”
“We are always happy to host them, we deal with these issues in the light of our bilateral agreements and protocols,” Haider Shah said.
His remarks came in the backdrop of the ongoing controversy regarding the denial of consular access to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan.
The Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner was summoned on Monday to lodge a “strong” protest over the attempts of inciting the Indian pilgrims.
Last week, around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims from India had travelled to Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Rawalpindi. However, Pakistani authorities reportedly blocked the Indian High Commission from performing basic consular and protocol duties for its citizens.
Soon after this, India lodged a strong protest with Pakistan and said that such incidents during the visit of pilgrims were against the spirit of the bilateral Protocol of 1974 governing the exchange of visits of pilgrims between the two countries.
However, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal released a statement on Sunday stating that the Secretary of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) suggested cancellation of the visit considering an emotionally charged environment and the possibility of any untoward situation