India lodges strong protest with Pak govt over harassment of high commission officials
New Delhi on Friday lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan government over stopping Indian High Commission officials from meeting Indian pilgrims visiting Gurudwara Sacha Sauda in Farooqabad near Lahore.
In a statement, MEA said, “India has today lodged a strong protest with the Government of Pakistan that despite being granted prior travel permission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, High Commission of India in Islamabad’s Consular officials were harassed and denied access on 21&22 Nov at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda to Indian pilgrims.”
“As a result of such harassment they were compelled to return to Islamabad without performing their diplomatic and consular duties vis-a-vis Indian pilgrims,” the MEA’s statement said.
The MEA further said, “We have shared our grave concern that this is the third consecutive visit of the Indian Sikh pilgrims when Pakistan has prevented the Indian High Commission officials from meeting the visiting Indian nationals on the pretext of security in order to deflect attention from Pakistan’s violation of the international legal instruments and conventions like the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.”
“This is also in breach of the letter and spirit of the 1974 Bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines and the Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan, 1992. Pakistan has been reminded that this is in contrast to the treatment met out to their High Commissioner and the Consular officials in New Delhi who have been provided full access to meet the Pakistani pilgrims who are currently in India on pilgrimage to Kalyar Sharif,” it added.
“We have also expressed grave concern at the reports of attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Indian pilgrims to Pakistan, to incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read.
“Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory to be used for any hostile propaganda and support for secessionist tendencies against India in keeping with the commitments made under the Simla Agreement, 1972 and endorsed in the Lahore Declaration, 1999,” the Indian government said.
“Pakistan has been reminded that such actions are not in consonance with the stated intentions of Pakistan to facilitate the visits of Indian Sikh pilgrims, especially as we commemorate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji,” the statement concluded.
It is to be noted that on Thursday, the Indian officials were stopped from entering the Gurudwara and a group of ISI sponsored Sikhs walked the diplomats out of the Gurudwara premises.
In a video, the Indian diplomat, who himself is a Sikh was found saying, “There are many gurudwaras in India and other parts of the world, but there are no restrictions on anywhere. We have witnessed this for the first time that someone is being stopped from entering Guru’s House. This is a violation of sanctity of Gurudwara.”