“If India were to relax visa restrictions and allow open immigration there will be an exodus”

If India were to relax visa restrictions and allow open immigration, Pakistan could witness the largest exodus of minorities since 1947, especially from the remote areas of Sindh, Balochistan and other disturbed areas where kidnappings, forcible conversions, marriages of minor girls, ransacking of residences, robbing of commercial establishments and religious persecution continues unabated. The state apparatus is either non-existent or a mute spectator.

This opinion was voiced by an overwhelming majority of members of the Hindu pilgrims who entered India on Saturday.

Most of them preferred not to divulge their identities as they had given a written undertaking to the Pakistani authorities that they would not defame the country during their 33-day visit, during which they would go on a pilgrimage to Amritsar, Delhi, Haridwar and Indore.

Some members of the “jatha” (group of pilgrims) said that while even the slightly well-off members of the religious minorities in Pakistan had either left the country or shifted to larger cities like Karachi or Islamabad, the others were living under complete insecurity.

“Let India open its borders, maybe for just one day; an overwhelming majority of Hindus would cross over,” pilgrims Amar Kumar and Suresh Kumar told reporters after emerging from the Attari checkpost. They said there were rumours that at least 100 of the 250 members of the current “jatha” may not return to Pakistan.

On the other hand, the jatha leader, Rajesh Singh, who sported a “Sikh form and attire,” said none of the pilgrims would stay back. He said these rumours had created misunder-standing and problems for the pilgrims.

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