A Hindu lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party said on Monday that he will travel to India later this week with a delegation of pilgrims.
In a statement issued in Islamabad, Patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and Member of National Assembly Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said that the delegation would go to India on January 29 on a special chartered flight of the Pakistan Airlines International (PIA) and would stay there for three days.
During their stay, the delegation will visit Dargah Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi, Dargah Khawaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer and the Taj Mahal in Agra.
"Pakistani pilgrims will be taken on the special PIA flight to visit religious places in India while Indian pilgrims will arrive in Pakistan on Air India flights,” Vankwani said.
He said that for the promotion of religious tourism in the region, an Air India flight will be operated from New Delhi to Peshawar on February 20 to bring Indian pilgrims to Samadhi of Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj, Teri temple, in Karak area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
He said that a series of air flights between the two countries has been started on a monthly basis. He further expressed the hope that the promotion of religious tourism could bring the people of the two countries closer.
According to him, the proposed visit of Pakistani pilgrims to India is in connection with the religious tourism initiative.
Hindu pilgrims from India and Gulf countries had arrived in Peshawar on January 1 via Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai to visit Shri Param Hansji Maharaj's Samadhi.
The Indian pilgrims were not allowed to travel on the PIA flight at the last moment by the Indian authorities following which they were brought to Pakistan via Wagah border. However, now the Indian pilgrims would travel on Air India flights, Vankwani added.
He said that on March 1 another delegation of Indian pilgrims will arrive in Karachi on the Air India flight for the pilgrimage of Hinglaj Mata Temple in Balochistan and other historical sacred sites.