India lodges protest with Pak for denying envoy access to pilgrims

ANI | Updated: Jun 23, 2018 19:12 IST

New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): India on Saturday summoned Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the denial of access to the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and consular officials despite having required permissions.
"A strong protest was also registered by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the incident," a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) read.
This is the second consecutive time that Pakistan has denied access to Indian High Commissioner to meet the visiting pilgrims who are Indian nationals.
According to the statement, the Indian organizers, 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 its consular responsibilities is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, and the 1974 bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines."
India's High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria was stopped from visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan's Hasan Abdal on Saturday, despite having required permissions.
The incident comes barely two months after Pakistani authorities prevented Indian High Commission officials from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Sikh pilgrims who had arrived in Pakistan from India to celebrate Baisakhi.
"The team could not meet the pilgrims on their arrival at Wagah Railway Station on April 12. Similarly, it was denied entry into Gurdwara Panja Sahib on April 14, for a scheduled meeting with pilgrims there. The High Commission was thus prevented from performing basic consular and protocol duties for Indian citizens," a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said then.
On April 14, High Commissioner Bisaria, who was to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib at the invitation of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman, was suddenly asked to return while en route to the shrine, for unspecified "security" reasons.
High Commissioner Bisaria was compelled to return without meeting the visiting group. (ANI)