Opinion

Big News! Modi Government breaks 43-year old protocol between India-Pakistan by denying visas to 192 Pakistani pilgrims

The way Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family was treated was beyond appalling. The disgraceful way in which two women were harassed and their sentiments abused is something that India can never forgive nor forget. This is worse than the mischiefs Pakistan undertakes on the border.

Rightly so, this hasn’t gone down well with the Indian government, and it has shown. The government has denied visas to 192 Pakistani pilgrims who wanted to visit India to participate in the death anniversary ceremony of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya. The devotees were to arrive to participate in the Urs ceremony from January 1-8.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office gave out a statement regarding this – “Pakistan regrets the last-minute postponement and non-issuance of visas by India. As a result of this Indian decision, the Pakistani Zaireen (devotees) would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Urs, which is of special significance.This is unfortunate and runs counter to the letter and spirit of the 1974 Protocol and objective of people-to-people contacts.”

The Pakistani office went on to say, “It is ironic that this was done on the occasion of Urs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya who was a symbol of bringing communities closer to each other.”

The denial is not just significant because of the importance of the ceremony, but because this is an annual event and has been going on for decades. This visit takes place under the provisions of the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines.

The sheer hypocrisy and asininity of the Pakistani government in evident when it goes on to say that the move by the Indian government is not only violative of the bilateral protocol but also of the basic human right to religious freedom. It said that such measures also undermined the efforts aimed at improving the environment, increasing people-to-people contacts and normalising relations between the two countries. Are these people serious?!

Where were basic human rights when these people stripped Kulbhushan’s mother and wife of their sacred religious and marital symbols? Where was the basic courtesy when ridiculous restrictions were imposed on them when they met Kulbhushan? And what did these good-for-nothing people do when their journalists derisively heckled the two women?

Pakistan doesn’t deserve an iota of generosity and it’s good that the Modi government has taken this significant step to deny their pilgrims visas on such an important occasion.

The largesse shown to Pakistanis in matters of giving visas has fallen drastically. Despite Sushma Swaraj granting medical visas, the number of visas has come down astonishingly under the current regime as compared to UPA rule.

Pakistanis used to come to India in huge numbers for different purposes – medical, business, tourism and religious visits. Figures suggest that the UPA used to give a staggering 21,000 visas every quarter to Pakistanis of which 6,000 were medical visas. Compare this to the handful of medical visas being given today that too only due to direct intervention of Sushma Swaraj.

That said, the Pakistanis don’t even deserve this. If the Pakistani government continues to invest in breeding terrorism and not in creating quality infrastructure, then it’s not our problem.


Vinayak Jain

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