Pakistan on Friday said India had recommended that the visit of Pakistani pilgrims to the annual ’urs’ at the Sufi shrine in Ajmer should be called off for security reasons.
Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay conveyed India’s recommendation during a meeting with the Director General of South Asia in Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesman.
According to the statement, Mr. Baglay said that due to the “prevailing security environment in India following recent bilateral incidents, the government of India would not be in a position to ensure the safety and security” of Pakistani pilgrims scheduled to visit Ajmer to participate in the annual urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti during May 13-23.
“The government of India has recommended to the government of Pakistan that the visit of the Zaireen (pilgrims) to Ajmer Sharif this year may, therefore, be called off,” the statement said.
Diplomatic sources said that India had made the recommendation because of tensions created by the deaths of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh and Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay.
Sarabjit died after being comatose for almost a week following a brutal assault by prisoners at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.
A day after his death, Ranjay was beaten up by a prisoner at Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu. He died later in a hospital in Chandigarh.
The Foreign Office said it had conveyed “necessary advice” to the Religious Affairs Ministry, which organises the visit to Ajmer.
Every year, hundreds of Pakistanis visit the shrine in Ajmer, which is revered by people across the subcontinent.