New Delhi: In a major jolt to Pakistan Prime Minster Raja Pervez Ashraf, spiritual head of Ajmer shrine Zainul Abedin Ali Khan on Friday said that he will not assist Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in prayers at the Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti shrine in protest against the recent brutal killing and beheading of Indian soldiers by the Pakistani Army at LoC.

"I will not welcome the Pakistani Prime Minister during his visit in protest against the beheading of Indian soldier by Pakistani Army on LoC. The incident hurt Indians but their(Pakistan) government is not understanding our sentiments so I took the decision," Ajmer Sharif Dargah Diwan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan said.

During his one-day private visit to India on Saturday, Ashraf is scheduled to visit Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s shrine in Ajmer. Traditionally, when a nation head goes to the dargah, he is welcomed by the spiritual head- the descendent of the sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti.

"The incident of beheading and brutal killing was highly condemnable and has hurt Indians. It is not only violation of human rights but is also against the Islamic law," he said.

Khurshid to host lunch for Pak PM

India had on Thursday announced that External Affair Minister Salman Khurshid will host lunch for Ashraf in a Pink City hotel and no substantive discussions are scheduled to take place. The visit comes around two months after ceasefire violations on the Line of Control that led to heightened tensions between the two neighbours. New Delhi had lodged a strong protest over the beheading of an Indian soldier and brutal killing of another.

Ashraf will be returning to Islamabad after offering prayers. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had visited the 13th century shrine on April 8 last year. He had landed in Delhi and driven straight for a luncheon meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several other leaders. Zardari, who was accompanied by his son Bilawal Bhutto, had then flown to Jaipur and taken a chopper to Ajmer, where he spent around 20 minutes and offered flowers and chadar at the shrine. The Pakistan President had donated USD 1 million to the shrine.

The Ajmer Sharif spiritual head said, "Pakistan is killing our innocent people by carrying out terror activities and does not take positive action despite the Government of India's official protests," he said. "It would  have been a new start of good relations between both the nations had the Pak PM before arriving for the Ziyarat handed over the head of the Indian soldier with full honour... along with an apology to all the Indians and the families of the martyrs," he said.

"It would be an insult to the martyrdom of our soldiers if I welcome the Pakistani PM. Now it is up to him to decide whether his Ziyarat at the holy shrine would be addressed?" he asked. Some local activists and advocates said they will hold protests against the visit.

"Pakistani Prime Minister is landing in India despite the tension for which Pakistan is solely responsible. Our protest will be true homage to the soldiers who were killed by Pakistan’s Army in Kashmir," Rajesh Tondon, a leader of the protesting lawyers in Ajmer said.

(JPN/Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk