NEW DELHI: Only a month after opening of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh Pilgrims, Pakistan has issued more visas Indian Hindu Pilgrims to visit Shadani Darbar in Sukkur and Shree Katas Raj in Chakwal
“In the months of November and December 2019, the Pakistan High Commission (PHC) in New Delhi has issued visas to two groups of Indian Hindu pilgrims for visit to their religious sites in Pakistan” PHC announced on Thursday.
A group of 57 Indian Pilgrims has already returned from Pakistan where they participated in the 311th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Shiv Avtari Satguru Sant Shadaram Sahib, at Sukkur, Sindh from 24 November-05 December 2019.
Shadani Darbar, more than 300 years old temple, is a scared place for devotees from across the globe. The Shadani Darbar was founded in 1786 by Sant Shadaram Sahib, who was born in Lahore in 1708.
The second group of 88 Indian Hindu pilgrims has been issued visas yesterday for visit to Shree Katas Raj Temples, also known as Qila Katas or complex of Katas Temples in Chakwal district of Punjab from 13-19 December 2019. Katas Raj temples surround a pond which is considered scared by Hindus.
These developments came when diplomatic relations between the two countries are at their lowest ebb. The continues military standoff at the borders and Indian government’s decision to abrogate special status of Jammu and Kashmir has increased tension between the nuclear armed South Asian rivals.
Under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh and Hindu pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals/occasions every year. The visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission are in addition to the visas issued to Sikh and Hindu pilgrims participating in these events from other countries.
The issuance of pilgrimage visas to Sikh and Hindu pilgrims is in line with the Government of Pakistan’s efforts for facilitating visits to religious shrines, foreign office said.