India denied permission Wednesday to a group of Sikh pilgrims who wanted to visit Pakistan.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) cited the security and coronavirus situation in Pakistan for the denial of 600 pilgrims.
In a letter to the managing body of the Sikh place of worship in India, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the MHA said the security situation in Pakistan continues to be adverse and a threat to Indian citizens.
“Traffic on India-Pakistan international border remains suspended since March, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan has so far recorded over half a million cases with 10,000 deaths due to Covid,” it said. “Considering the capacity of the health infrastructure, it is not advisable for a large group of our citizens to visit Pakistan for a week during the pandemic.”
Sikh pilgrims planned to reach Pakistan on Friday for a weeklong trip.
The SGPC organized a special COVID-19 testing camp for pilgrims visiting Pakistan, which will conclude Wednesday.
The COVID-19 screening report is mandatory for those traveling to Pakistan.