Makkar writes to PM, Pak Prez for visas to pilgrims

Alleging "grave injustice" by Pakistan High Commissioner in India in regard to denial of visas to 1400 Sikh pilgrims for Baisakhi celebrations at shrines in Pakistan, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to direct the Pakistani High Commissioner to entertain SGPC recommended passports and grant visas liberally.

In his letter to the PM, Makkar said that the decision of Pakistan Embassy had "denigrated the sanctity of this top religious body".

He added, "The action of the Pakistan High Commissioner granting visas to all those, whose names were recommended by various splinter groups having no legal authority, thereby ignoring the list of SGPC, could not be justified. The excuse given by the commissioner regarding late submission of passports is totally wrong as the list along with passports was always submitted through the Union Ministry of Home Affairs."

In his letter to the Pakistani president, Makkar wrote: "...Now, when both countries are making sincere attempts to build stronger ties, the action of the Pakistan High Commissioner granting visas to small groups recommended by Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee and NGOs, ignoring the list of SGPC, could not be justified."

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