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Pakistan lodges protest with India over visas 500 pilgrims denied permission to visit shrine

ISLAMABAD, May 3, (AFP): Pakistan on Friday protested to India over its refusal to issue visas to some 500 pilgrims who intended to attend an annual festival at a Sufi saint’s shrine, the foreign ministry said. India’s deputy ambassador was summoned to Pakistan’s foreign ministry which conveyed its “deep disappointment and concern” over the refusal to issue visas to the pilgrims, it said in a statement.

The pilgrims wanted to attend the annual gathering of devotees of Muslim Sufi saint Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in the town of Ajmer. “The visits to religious shrines in Pakistan and India are governed under the Bilateral Protocol on Visits to the Religious Shrines, 1974,” the ministry said. It said it was the fourth time that visas had been denied to Pakistani pilgrims in the last year.

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