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Wednesday Jun 28 2017

Indian authorities stopping Sikh pilgrims from traveling to Pakistan, says FO


ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) said on Wednesday that Indian authorities are not allowing more than 150 Sikh pilgrims, who are waiting at the Attari station in India’s Punjab, to travel to Pakistan despite the arrangement of a special train.

The statement from the FO added that earlier in the year Indian authorities had cited “technical reasons” for not allowing Sikh pilgrims to travel to Pakistan and as a result, a large number of people were unable to attend religious festivities.

“Then also Pakistan in an attempt to facilitate the Yatrees (pilgrims) had sent a special train to India to bring the Yatrees but it was refused by India,” said the FO.

Under a bilateral agreement, religious tourism is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan and India, added FO’s statement.

“It is unfortunate that this has been hampered twice in a short period this year depriving many Sikh Yatrees of the opportunity to participate in their religious festivals.”

The FO expressed hope that India will take effective steps to resolve the matter as soon as possible.