Minister for religious affairs said on Monday that India had refused to grant visas to Pakistani pilgrims intending to attend the Urs of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Dargah Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan.
In a statement, Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said five hundred Pakistani devotees were to leave for the neighbouring country on March 7, Radio Pakistan reported.
The statement comes between rising tensions between the two nuclear-arch rivals following the Pulwama attack, breach of Pakistani airspace by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) subsequent capturing of an Indian pilot.
Qadri said the ministry had informed the devotees via SMS after it received information of the cancellation of visas from the Indian embassy. “The embassy is yet to return their passports,” he added.
The religious minister argued that the step was a manifestation of the extremist face of India, which had become a hostage in the hands of radicals.
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.