Pakistan has decided to call off the visit of Zaireen (pilgrims) to Ajmer later this month for the annual Urs in view of India expressing inability to ensure their safety and security.

Over 600 pilgrims had applied for Indian visas to go to Ajmer, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said India has recommended to Pakistan that the visit of the Zaireen to Ajmer Sharif this year “may be called off.” The statement was issued after Indian Deputy High Commissioner (DHC) met the Director General South Asia (DGSA) in this regard.

As per the Pakistani version of the meeting, the DHC informed the DGSA 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 the group of Zaireen from Pakistan scheduled to visit Ajmer Sharif for participation in the annual Urs” from May 13 to 23.

However, Indian High Commission officials maintained that no recommendation for cancellation of the pilgrimage was made. “All that was communicated to the Foreign Office was that given the escalation of tensions between the two countries over the fatal attack on Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a Pakistani jail, it would be difficult to ensure security.”

Basically, India’s contention was that security would be provided to the pilgrims but there was an element of risk. Pakistan had earlier this week issued an advisory to its citizens travelling to India in view of the hostile statements coming out from certain quarters ever since Singh succumbed to his injuries last week.