Top Pakistani diplomat says pilgrims' movement a 'good omen' for India-Pak ties

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Nov 23, 2021, 10:50 AM(IST)

Pakistan's acting high commissioner to India Aftab Hasan Khan at the Nizamuddin Dargah Photograph:( WION )

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Pakistan's acting high commissioner to India Aftab Hasan Khan visited the Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi along with pilgrims from his country. He said people from India to should go to Pakistan and people from Pakistan should come to India.

Pakistan's acting high commissioner to India Aftab Hasan Khan has termed Indo-Pakistan pilgrimage movement as "good omen" for ties.

He had accompanied over 50 Pakistani pilgrims who visited the famous Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi on Monday. The batch was the first such batch of Pakistani pilgrims to visit India since March 2020.


Watch: Kartarpur Sahib corridor to reopen ahead of birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev

Speaking to WION, the top Pakistani diplomat in India said, "its a good omen that people are interacting and more people should visit. People from India to should go to Pakistan and people from Pakistan should come to India. We are following a very liberal visa regime at the Pakistani high commission and issuing maximum number of visas to the Indian applicants desirous of visiting Pakistan. So hope, let's see in the future, it's a good omen for bilateral relationship." 

Seen as pilgrimage diplomacy, the visit by Pakistani devotees comes even as Indian pilgrims are on a visit to Pakistan. Around 1,500 Indians are visiting Pakistan on November 17-26 via the Attari-Wagah border, coinciding with Gurupurab, the birth anniversary of first Sikh Guru Guru Nanak.

Aftab Hasan Khan remarked, "It is very heartening to see that pilgrims from Pakistan have arrived to pay obeisance at the Nizamuddin Dargah on the Urs and we hope that this will continue in the future also. Due to Covid restrictions, it was suspended and now it has started again and we hope it will continue in the future."

Both the visits are covered under the 1974 Bilateral Protocol between India and Pakistan on 'Visits to Religious Shrines'. The Indian pilgrims are visiting Gurudwara Shri Darbar Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Panja Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Dehra Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Nankana Sahib, Gurudwara Shri Kartarpur Sahib and Gurudwara Shri Sachha Sauda. 

Asked about his visit at the holy place, he said, "We came here, we paid our obeisance, prayed for the peace and stability in the region and it was a wonderful and an auspicious occasion, Urs Mubarak of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. We prayed here with all out pilgrims. Prayed for peace and stability in the region".

The movement globally and between India and Pakistan has been suspended amid the Covid pandemic. As the crisis abates, India is opening up. Earlier this month, New Delhi announced the process of giving tourist visas.

Pakistani pilgrims who were present at the Dargah appreciated Indian government for facilitating the process of the visit.

One pilgrim told WION, "We got lot of love and respect here. We are happy to be here. We want increased engagement".

Another pilgrim from Gujranwala said, "happy to be here at the Dargah".

One pilgrim from Lahore said, "we thank India govt for giving permission to be here, so that we can offer dua here."

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