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India refused to issue visas to Pakistanis for Ajmer Sharif

05 March, 2019

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Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri on Monday said India has refused to issue visas to Pakistanis wishing to attend the Urs of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti … also known as ‘Gharib Nawaz’, or patron of the poor … at Dargah Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan.

According to Qadri, 500 Pakistanis were to leave for India on March 7.

The announcement from the religious affairs minister comes amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack and subsequent airstrikes by both countries.

“India’s extremist face has come forward,” Qadri said adding, “India is held hostage by religious extremists.” The religious affairs minister said Pakistanis had been deprived attendance to the Urs for two years.

In March 2018, the Foreign Office (FO) had expressed its disappointment at India’s failure to issue visas to 503 Pakistani pilgrims wanting to participate in the annual Urs.

Despite New Delhi’s warmongering, Islamabad on February 25 approved ten-day visit visas for around 3,000 Sikh pilgrims who wished to take part in the Vaisakhi Mela. Pakistan has granted visas to at least 5,600 Sikh and 312 Hindu pilgrims in 2019.

The shrine of Chishti considered to be among the holiest Muslim shrines in India ? holds great significance for the followers of the 12th century saint residing in Pakistan. Every year, around 500 Pakistani devotees used to attend the Urs of the saint, who introduced the Afghan-origin Chishti Order, which preaches love and tolerance, to Punjab and Rajasthan.

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