Pakistan grants 139 Indians visas to visit Shree Katas Raj Dham; pilgrims leave for shrine in Punjab province via Wagah

Chakwal (Punjab province): A group of Indian pilgrims, comprising 139 people, on Sunday left for Shree Katas Raj Dham in Pakistan's Chakwal district.

With the echoes of 'Jai Kara', the group left for Pakistan via the Wagah Border. Shiv Pratap Bajaj, the leader of the group, said that several people were denied visas during former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif's government.

Shree Katas Raj Dham

Shree Katas Raj Dham

Katas Raj is considered 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.

The six-day pilgrimage will also include a religious congregation where Hindu families from across Pakistan will gather.

The Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi issued visas to the pilgrims to visit the temple from 9-15 December.

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.

Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said the issuance of visas to the Indian 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".

"Pakistan remains committed to providing all possible facilitation for the visiting pilgrims and strengthening people-to-people exchanges between the two countries," he said in a press statement.

Recently, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor along the India-Pakistan border. Once opened, the route will allow Sikh pilgrims a direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev died in 1539.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2018 21:17:44 IST

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