Indian pilgrims cancel visit to Pakistan over 'rising tension'

As many as 200 Hindu pilgrims from different parts of India were scheduled to visit the Katas Raj temple complex - one of the holiest Hindu sites in Pakistan - on November 28.

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Islamabad, Nov 26: Amid rising tensions between Pakistan and India, Indian Hindu pilgrims have cancelled their visit to the revered Katas Raj temple in Pakistan, officials said.

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As many as 200 Hindu pilgrims from different parts of India were scheduled to visit the Katas Raj temple complex - one of the holiest Hindu sites in Pakistan - on November 28. Pilgrims were supposed to perform religious rituals during the three-day visit.

"Their scheduled visit has been cancelled," Siddiqueul Farooq, chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and District Administration of Chakwal, confirmed to Dawn. The ETPB had made comprehensive security arrangements for the Indian pilgrims, he added.

Farooq cited the border tension as the reason behind the postponement of the visit. "We had issued visas to the pilgrims but their government did not allow them to visit Pakistan," Dawn quoted him as saying.

To a question regarding Sikh pilgrims from India, Khalid Ali, additional secretary (Shrines) of the ETPB, told Dawn that Pakistan had issued 3,319 visas to Sikh pilgrims but only 2,008 visited Panja Sahib recently. He said the Hindu pilgrims would visit Katas Raj in February for the Shivratri festival.

Hindu pilgrims visit Katas Raj twice a year. The first visit is made in February while the second in November.

IANS

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