Pakistan issues 2,200 visas to Indian pilgrims for Baisakhi festival

The Pakistan High Commission on Tuesday said it has issued visas to 2,200 Sikh pilgrims from India to facilitate their participation in the annual Baisakhi celebrations from April 12 to 21.

The issuance of visas by Pakistan is seen as signs of easing of tension between the two countries, and came nearly six weeks after the Balakot strike and subsequent Pakistani retaliation.

Under a framework of Indo-Pak protocol on visits to religious shrines, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan every year.

Similarly, Pakistani pilgrims also visit India.

Last week, Pakistan announced that it will release 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen, as a "goodwill gesture".

Out of the 360, 100 fishermen returned to India on Monday.

"The Pakistan High Commission has issued 2200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations," the High Commission said in a statement.

It said the 2,200 visas were in addition to those granted to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries.