Pakistan bars Indian envoy from meeting pilgrims at Gurudwara in Islamabad; MEA lodges protest

New Delhi: Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and consular officials were on Saturday barred by Pakistan to visit Gurudwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab province and meet the Indian pilgrims. Summoning Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah in New Delhi, India lodged a strong protest. It was conveyed to the Pakistan side that preventing the Indian High Commission officials from discharging their consular responsibilities was in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the 1974 bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines.
The MEA said, “The Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned today and a strong protest was lodged at the denial of access to the Indian High Commissioner and consular officials of the Indian High Commission to visit Gurudwara Panja Sahib and meet the Indian pilgrims despite a travel permission having been granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan. A strong protest was also registered by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the incident. This is the second consecutive time, Pakistan has denied access to Indian High Commissioner to meet the visiting pilgrims who are Indian nationals. Indian organisers, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), when contacted, have expressed grave concern and dismay at the incident despite the visiting pilgrims from India having asked Pakistan organisers to facilitate a meeting with Indian High Commissioner and High Commission officials. It has been conveyed to Pakistan side that preventing the Indian High Commission officials from discharging their consular responsibilities is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the 1974 bilateral Protocol on a visit to religious shrines.”