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Prevailing circumstances are not suitable for pilgrimage between India and Pakistan, official sources said on Monday after Islamabad accused Delhi of denying visas to pilgrims who wanted to attend the annual festivities at the Sufi shrine of Ajmer. These comments coincided with the summoning of Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner by the External Affairs Ministry in protest against heavy firing by Pakistani forces.

“Such visits are facilitated and promoted and visas granted after following due procedures. However, from time to time, such visits cannot take place in view of the prevailing circumstances and absence of requisite security clearances,” a source told the media.

India’s response came after Pakistan said that India violated a 1974 bilateral protocol by denying visas to pilgrims who wanted to visit the famed shrine in Ajmer.

India also summoned Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah and protested at the loss of lives of five civilians from Pakistani firing across the Line of Control in the Bhimber Gali Sector in J&K.

Meanwhile, harassment of Indian diplomats continued in Islamabad, sources said. A note issued regarding this matter recorded that aggressive surveillance of Indian diplomats took place on Monday. “Pakistan has been requested to immediately investigate all these incidents and direct the relevant authorities to ensure they do not recur,”a source said.

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