Pakistani Hindu lawmaker bringing 170 pilgrims to India on PIA flight

Pakistani Hindu lawmaker bringing 170 pilgrims to India on PIA flight

Pakistani Hindu lawmaker bringing 170 pilgrims to India on PIA flight

Aiming to encourage religious tourism between the neighbouring countries, a total of 170 Pakistani pilgrims will be flying to India on January 28 for the first time since the two countries got independence in 1947 on a special Pakistan International Airlines aircraft. 

The three-day visit to religious sites in India is aimed at bringing the people of the two countries a bit closer. 

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack at the Pathankot Air Force station and on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama, relations between India and Pakistan have been strained. 

New Delhi has since insisted that talks and terror cannot go on simultaneously. 

As many as 170 Pakistani pilgrims will arrive in New Delhi through a PIA flight on January 28. From New Delhi airport, these tourists will be taken to Khwaja Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi and Hazrat Moinuddin Christi's Dargah in Ajmer to offer prayers. 

Simultaneously, a similar number of Hindu pilgrims from India will visit the samadhi of Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj temple at Teri temple in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region to pay their respects on February 20 for a day. Last year, in November, 54 Indian pilgrims had visited the SPJM temple. 

Pakistan Hindu Council and Member of National Assembly Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani Vankwani claimed that the next plan was to continue bringing pilgrims of other holy sites almost on a monthly basis so that the people of two countries could come closer. 

He further added that year 2022 has been declared as the 'Year of Faith' in Pakistan. 

Prior to this, the tourists from both countries used to visit each other's religious sites either on foot or by Samjhauta Express. 

Earlier this month, a group of 200 Indian pilgrims had visited Pakistan via the Wagah border, wherein the Pakistan Hindu Council patron-in-chief and lawmaker Ramesh Kumar Vankwani had welcomed them. 

The religious visit which commenced on January 1, culminated on January 4. 

In 2020, a total of 91 Indian pilgrims in two groups had visited the revered sites in Pakistan. The first group went to the Shree Katas Raj temples -- also known as Qila Katas or complex of Katas Temples -- in Chakwal while the second group visited Shiv Avtari Satguru Sant Shadaram Sahib in Sukkur. 
In 1974, India and Pakistan had inked an agreement regarding the visit of the pilgrims from both countries. 

As per the pact, the Waqf Property Board and the ministry of religious affairs arrange the arrival and departure of pilgrims.

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