Pak prevents consular access to Sikh pilgrims; India protests
New Delhi: India lodged a strong protest with Pakistan on Sunday over blocking of access of visiting Sikh pilgrims to Indian diplomats in that country and even "compelling" the Indian envoy to return while on the way to a prominent gurdwara there.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said a group of around 1,800 Sikh pilgrims are on a visit to Pakistan from April 12 under a bilateral agreement on facilitating visits to religious shrines.
In a statement, the MEA also said the Indian High Commissioner, who was to greet Indian pilgrims on the occasion of 'Baisakhi' – a historical and religious festival in Sikhism – was compelled to return when he was en route to Gurdwara Panja Sahib on Saturday.
The MEA called it an "inexplicable diplomatic discourtesy" by Pakistan, holding that these incidents constitute a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
"India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over a block of access for visiting pilgrims to Indian diplomats and consular teams," it said in a statement.
The fresh incidents came, over two weeks after India and Pakistan agreed to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats after envoys of the two countries made claims and counter-claims about harassment of each other's diplomats.