Protesters surround Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, disperse after negotiations

Published January 3, 2020
Protesters chant slogans during the demonstration in Nankana Sahib on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Protesters chant slogans during the demonstration in Nankana Sahib on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Scores of protesters surrounded the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, located in its namesake city, on Friday afternoon, threatening to overrun the holy site if their demands for the release of suspects in an alleged forced conversion case were not met.

However, the protesters dispersed after several hours in the evening following successful negotiations between them and government representatives, which led to the release of the arrested persons.

Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as the Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is the site where the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born and is regarded as one of the holiest sites in the religion.

On Friday evening, scores of charged protesters staged a sit-in outside the Gurdwara. They were led by the family of a man, Ehsan, who was accused of forcibly converting a Sikh woman, Jagjit Kaur, in 2019.

On August 28, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in the Nankana police station against six people who were accused of abducting and forcefully converting the 19-year-old woman.

The police subsequently traced the suspects to Lahore and detained one of them. Later, the woman had submitted a written statement in the court, stating that she had converted to Islam and married Ehsan of her own free will. She also accused her family of "wanting to kill me".

The woman was subsequently shifted to a Darul Aman shelter on the court’s orders, after the Sikh community had demanded that the police bring her back to her parents' house irrespective of the conversion being forced or consensual.

On Friday, Ehsan's family alleged that police had raided their home and detained several family members, including Ehsan, ahead of the next court hearing scheduled for January 9. “Today, police personnel raided our home and arrested my brother and relatives after torturing them,” Ehsan’s sister told the media outside the Gurdwara, claiming that the police also tortured women and children present in the house.

Ehsan’s family also alleged that the police were trying to pressure them ahead of the court hearing.

For his part, the District Police Officer of Nankana Sahib, Ismail Kharak, said that the suspects were arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by a citizen regarding a dispute. He did not, however, comment on the family’s allegations regarding the police’s attempts to pressure them ahead of the hearing.

In the evening, successful talks were held between the protesters and the PTI Nankana Sahib president Pir Sarwar Shah. Police subsequently released all arrested persons, following which the protesters ended their protest and dispersed from the site.

Opinion

Shared city
26 Jan 2021

Shared city

Karachi is not a city ‘created by everybody’.
Back to governance
Updated 25 Jan 2021

Back to governance

While PDM has continued efforts to mount political pressure, it has been unable to force a crisis to challenge the PTI government.

Editorial

Pakistan-US ties
Updated 26 Jan 2021

Pakistan-US ties

The US remains the world’s most powerful country, one Pakistan cannot afford to ignore.
26 Jan 2021

NAB not impartial

NAB CHAIRMAN retired justice Javed Iqbal has claimed that his organisation is an unbiased anti white-collar-crime...
26 Jan 2021

Pakistan-South Africa series

IN what is seen as a rare instance, Pakistan start as the underdogs on their home turf when they take on South ...
Updated 25 Jan 2021

Where the buck stops

The rights to due process and security of person are accorded to every individual in this country.
25 Jan 2021

PPP’s plan?

THE PDM faces a fresh crisis as the PPP takes a conspicuously soft position on the long march. While the PDM talks ...
25 Jan 2021

Forward guidance

THE State Bank has taken the unusual step of issuing a forward guidance in its latest monetary policy statement to...