India advises pilgrims not to travel to Pakistan


“The government of India is of the view that it is not advisable for the Indian pilgrims to visit Pakistan in the prevailing situation when frequent terrorist attacks are taking place in Punjab province of Pakistan, where all gurudwaras are situated,” said a statement issued by the home ministry.
 
“Accordingly, the government advises all Indian citizens to avoid undertaking any visit to Pakistan for this purpose, till the security situation in Pakistan improves.”

The home ministry said in a statement that it was "not advisable for Indian pilgrims to visit Pakistan in the prevailing situation when frequent terrorist attacks are taking place in Punjab province of Pakistan, where all gurdwaras are situated".

The SGPC, the mini parliament of Sikh religion headquartered in Punjab's Amritsar city, has applied for permission from the home ministry to allow Sikhs to go to Pakistan next week in connection with Gurpurab, the birth anniversary celebration of Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The birthplace of Guru Nanak is Nankana Sahib, near Lahore. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said on Tuesday that the Pakistan visit was an important religious event.

"We understand that the government issued the travel advisory in view of the bad situation in Pakistan. Anything can happen there. If the government feels that it (Pakistan) is unsafe, it should ban all travel to that country," Makkar said.

"We have applied for permission for our jatha (group) to go there. If the clearance is given, it becomes the responsibility of the Indian government to talk to Pakistan to ensure security of the Sikh pilgrims," he added.
The SGPC jatha for the Nov 2 event could have 1,500-2,000 devotees.
"The (travel) advisory alone does not help. If we (SGPC) don't send pilgrims, and pilgrims decide to go in smaller groups, it will be embarrassing for us," Makkar added.
Earlier this month, over 200 Indians who had gone to Pakistan on pilgrimage had to cut short their visit due to security concerns after the Pakistan Army's GHQ was attacked by terrorists in Rawalpindi.
Nearly 200 people have been killed in the latest wave of militant violence that began with a suicide bombing at the offices of the UN World Food Programme in Islamabad Oct 5.

The most audacious attack was on Oct 10 when 10 terrorists in military uniform laid siege to the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. At least 19 people, including nine raiders, died in the 22-hour standoff.

The brazen attacks have shown a range of tactics and targets. While some have been suicide blasts by attackers on foot or in vehicles, others have involved teams of gunmen staging raids.

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