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Pak cuts short visit of Indian Sikh pilgrims

Last updated on: February 23, 2010 14:39 IST

Pakistani authorities have cut short the visit of Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasanabdal city of Punjab province due to the security situation, days after the killing of two abducted Sikhs by the Taliban in the restive northwestern tribal belt.

The visit of the Sikh pilgrims was shortened from three days to one day due to the security situation, media reports said.

The Sikhs had travelled to Hasanabdal for religious rituals.

They were earlier scheduled to stay in Hasanabdal for three days and participate in the 'Saka Nankana Sahib Anniversary', which is being observed for the second time after the partition of the subcontinent.

A senior security official told the media that authorities had shortened the visit of the Sikhs to only one day due to the recent killing of the two abducted Sikhs in Khyber tribal region.

However, an official of the Evacuee Trust Property Board, which is responsible for maintaining shrines of minority communities and making arrangements for pilgrims, said the reasons behind the decision for shortening the visit were not known.

But, he pointed out that security agencies had expressed apprehension about threats to the Sikh pilgrims.

Meanwhile, condemning the incident, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday said his government would do whatever it can for safety and security of the minority community.

"We are equally concerned. We condemn that strongly. They (militants) are inhuman. They have (make) no distinction between individuals, ethnicities or religions regardless," Qureshi, who is on a visit to Beijing, told reporters.

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