Pakistani pilgrims planning to visit the Urs of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Dargah Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan have been denied visas by New Delhi.
India has issued visas to only 249 Pakistani pilgrims to visit Ajmer Sharif instead of the 488 applicants who intended to visit the shrine of revered Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti in Rajasthan.
According to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, over 200 Pakistani pilgrims had been deprived of paying homage to the Sufi saint.
He said that the Indian authorities have also declined visas for six officials deputed to take care of the pilgrims during their stay in India. He, however, said that only one of the six officials was granted permission to go with the pilgrims.
The spokesperson said all the Zaireen have been conveyed through SMS to reach Lahore, from where they will embark on their journey to India on Tuesday.
The last-minute refusal to issue visas has affected pilgrims’ emotional sentiments, leaving them stressed, while Pakistani officials have expressed dismay.
New Delhi has violated long-standing protocol on visits to religious shrines by refusing visas while Pakistan has always facilitated Indian pilgrims to visit their sacred sites to promote interfaith harmony. This is not the first time as the Indian embassy last year refused visas to several Pakistani pilgrims for attending the annual Urs.