SGPC Writes To Pakistan President Over Denying Visas To Sikh Pilgrims

AMRITSAR: The Shiromani GurdwaraParbandhak Committee (SGPC) has written a letter to Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari urging him to direct officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to entertain the SGPCrecommended passports for granting visas to Sikh religious groups.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said he had written a letter to the Pakistan president after the high commission denied visas to about 1,400 devotees aspiring to undertake pilgrimage to Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi. Following the refusal of visas, the SGPC had suspended its scheduled Jatha to Pakistan.

Sikh religious groups from the region had sent a jatha of nearly 1,500 devotees to Pakistan on April 10 to celebrate Baisakhi. Makkar also rubbished the claims of late submission of passports made by the Pakistan High Commission “The excuse given by them ( Pak High Commission) is wrong as the list along with the passports was submitted through the ministry of home affairs, Also, the list of splinter groups was entertained without the required permission of the ministry,” he added. The SGPC recommends the names of the Sikh pilgrims for pilgrimage to Pakistan every year on the occasions like Baisakhi, Gurpurb Guru Nanak Dev, Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev and death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

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