India slams Pakistan for not granting diplomatic access to Indian Sikh pilgrims

File photo of the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 23, 2018, 08.52 PM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

A day after India and Pakistan announced that they will be building Kartarpur corridor on the respective sides of the border, India slammed Pakistan for not giving consular access to its diplomats to meet the Indian Sikh Yatris. New Delhi lodged a strong protest with Islamabad that despite having been granted prior travel permission by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan the Consular officials of the High Commission of India were "harassed and denied access".

In a statement India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) 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."

Indian diplomats were denied access to meet Indian Pilgrims on November 21 and 22 at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda.

India also said that "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."

The treatment is in contrast to the treatment met out to Pakistani 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 a pilgrimage to Kalyar Sharif.

India also raised the issue of Pakistan supporting pro-Khalistani groups with Khalistani flags being waved at Nagar kirtans at religious places like Nankana Sahib. Expressing "grave concern" at these developments New Delhi said Islamabad is trying to "incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

Calling Pakistan to not allow its territory to be used for any "hostile propaganda and support for secessionist tendencies against India", India reminded the country to keep the commitments made by it under the Simla Agreement, 1972 and Lahore Declaration, 1999.

On Thursday, India announced that it will be making the Kartarpur Corridor and the foundation stone will be laid on November 26 by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh. The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will be laying stone its side of Kartarpur Corridor on November 28.

Kartarpur Gurudwara is just 3 kilometres away from the Indian border and can be seen from across the border. It is holy for Sikhs since Guru Nanak Dev ji spent 18 years of his life. It was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community and India had been pursuing it for a long time for Pakistan to build a corridor till the Gurudwara. 

Story highlights

Kartarpur Gurudwara is just 3 kilometres away from the Indian border and can be seen from across the border. It is holy for Sikhs since Guru Nanak Dev ji spent 18 years of his life. It was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community and India had been pursuing it for a long time for Pakistan to build a corridor till the Gurudwara.