Indian Sikh pilgrims at Wagha border on way to attend Baisakhi festival at the shrine of Gurdwara Punja Sahib Pakistan. | PTI

NEW DELHI: Deputy high commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi Syed Haider Shah was summoned Monday to the Ministry of External Affairs and a strong protest was lodged at attempts by Islamabad to incite Sikh pilgrims to raise the issue of Khalistan on their return to India.

Shah was called in to register India’s objection to Pakistan making inflammatory remarks and displaying posters with such messages at places where the pilgrims visited.

According to a Ministry of External Affairs press release, Pakistan was called upon to immediately stop all such activities that were aimed at undermining India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and incitement of disharmony in India. Such repeated attempts by authorities and entities in Pakistan to extend support to secessionist movements in India amount to interference in the internal affairs of India.

Moreover, such incidents during the visit of the Indian pilgrims went against the spirit of the bilateral protocol of 1974 governing the exchange of visits of pilgrims between the two countries, the release said.

On Sunday, India had protested against Indian officials, including the High commissioner Ajay Bisaria, being denied access to Jatha of around 1800 Sikh yatris which has been travelling in Pakistan from April 12, under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines. Ajay Bisaria was instead, compelled to return when he was en route to Gurdwara Panja Sahib. Pakistan had rejected the charge as baseless, and accused India of trying to “generate controversy around the visits of Sikh pilgrims and to vitiate the environment of bilateral relations.”



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