ISLAMABAD: Another 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 temple, in Chakwal district, from December 9-15, 2018.
The Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines (1974) governs reciprocal visits by Indian and Pakistani pilgrims to designated shrines in Pakistan and India, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said.
Accordingly, a large number of Sikh and Hindu yatrees from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals every year.
Similarly, Zaireen (pilgrims) from Pakistan visit India to pay homage to various Sufi saints at their shrines in India.
In November, more than 3800 Sikh yatrees from India were granted visas to visit Pakistan for the 549th birthday anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. During their visit, the historic initiative of ‘Kartarpur Corridor’ was launched and the ground-breaking ceremony on the Pakistan side of the international border was performed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 28, 2018 in the presence of the visiting Sikh Jatha from India.
Subsequently, over 220 Indian pilgrims received visas to visit famous Hindu temple, Shadani Darbar, in Sukkur. These yatrees are continuing their pilgrim.
Katas Raj, is one of the holiest places for the Hindu community in Pakistan. The temples form a complex surrounding a pond named Katas which is regarded as sacred by the devotees.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said that the issuance of visas for yet another group of pilgrims from India was consistent with the government of Pakistan’s policy of promoting visits to religious shrines and was a reflection of Pakistan’s commitment to faithfully implement the 1974 Protocol.
He added that Pakistan remained committed to providing all possible facilitation for the visiting pilgrims and strengthening people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.