Pakistan on Monday protested against India denying visas to over 500 pilgrims seeking to visit Ajmer Sharif. The visa denial by India has led to further intensifying the diplomatic standoff between the two South Asian nations.
India defended the denial of visas saying that “prevailing circumstances” and absence of security clearances were the reasons for its decision.
While not denying that visas had been withheld, an official source said, “Such visits are facilitated and promoted following due processes.
However, from time to time, such visits cannot take place in view of prevailing circumstances and absence of security clearances. There have been instances in the past when such visits did not take place from both sides.”
The Pakistan foreign office said, “Pakistan notes with deep disappointment the non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of 503 Pakistani zaireen (pilgrims) to participate in the urs of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharif, India, from 19-29 March 2018.”
The decision not to grant visas indicates India is ready to suspend travel, usually seen as part of “people-to-people” contact and a consideration extended to visits to places of religious significance, in view of allegations of harassment of diplomatic staff and shelling of civilian areas in Jammu & Kashmir by the Pakistani army.