Pak mull group visas to Indian pilgrims

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Islamabad, Oct 30: Pakistan has asked India to identify four Hindu-Sikh holy shrines in the country so that the government could consider issuing group visas to Indian pilgrims, official sources said.

A high-level meeting presided over by Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao here yesterday also identified four Muslim holy shrines in and around New Delhi. Islamabad would urge the Indian government to issue group visas for Pakistani pilgrims to these shrines.

''We have given India the list of four of our holy places in New Delhi and its surroundings and have asked it to send us the names of four of their holy places located in Pakistan,'' the sources were quoted by the Dawn as saying.

They said the places Pakistan had identified were shrines to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, Mujaddid Alf Sani, Amir Khusro and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

A formal proposal in this regard would be made in the next round of talks between the Interior Secretaries of the two countries, they said, adding that the implementation of the move would be on a reciprocal basis.

The meeting rejected the idea of treating pilgrims as tourists under the current visa policy.

Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah, Additional Secretary Imtiaz Kazi, Joint Secretaries Waqar Zaib and Aizaz Chaudhry and other senior officials attended the meeting.


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