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Pak. issues visas to visit Shiva temple

Will provide all help to pilgrims: envoy

Going ahead with a people-oriented diplomacy, Pakistan has issued a large number of visas for Indian pilgrims who are expected to visit the famed Shiva temple at Katas Raj Dham, near the city of Lahore.

“Group of Indian pilgrims, comprising 139 people, has been issued visas by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to visit Shree Katas Raj Dham, in Chakwal district from 9-15 December 2018,” stated a press release from the Pakistan High Commission in the national capital.

Buddhist links too

Katas Raj is a complex of ancient temples that is among the most important Hindu pilgrimage centres in Pakistan. The temple complex consisting of seven shrines, is located around the Katas lake, considered sacred by pilgrims of multiple faiths. Apart from the temples, the area is renowned for its Buddhist remains and architecture.

The Pakistan government under Imran Khan has continued the policy of conservation of ancient temples followed by the Nawaz Sharif government.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan stepped in and stopped cement companies from extracting water from the lake.

Sunday’s announcement of visas for Indian pilgrims, came days after Islamabad issued 220 visas for the Shadani Darbar temple in Sukkur where a centuries-old festival is continuing.

Islamabad had earlier granted 3,800 visas for Sikh pilgrims visiting Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab for the celebration of the 549th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.

Pakistan also formally inaugurated the project for building the corridor that will allow Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy temple at Kartarpur across the border.

The High Commission said Pakistan remains committed to the bilateral understanding of 1974 with India that allows pilgrims to travel freely. Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said Pakistan remained committed to providing all possible help to the visiting Hindu pilgrims.

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