Ulema visit Nankana to express solidarity with Sikhs

Updated January 05, 2020

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Protesters chant slogans during the demonstration in Nankana Sahib on Friday. — DawnNewsTV/File
Protesters chant slogans during the demonstration in Nankana Sahib on Friday. — DawnNewsTV/File

SHEIKHUPURA: The Muttahida Aman Council met with Nankana Sahib Deputy Commissioner (DC) Raja Mansoor in his office on Saturday a day after tension between two groups threatened to jeopardise peace in the town that houses one of the most sacred places for the Sikhs.

Ulema from various schools of thought participated in the meeting. The DC assured them that there was no law and order situation in and around the city due to Friday night’s incident where two groups had got into a heated argument outside Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib. The groups had gathered at the tea stall of Zaman whose nephew had married a Sikh girl after allegedly forcing her to convert.

The DC said that at least five people who tried to create a situation on the occasion were taken into custody by the city police, but released after a couple of hours following assurances from some local notables. At present, the situation was fully under control, he claimed.

Earlier, activists of the Aman Council also visited the gurdwara and expressed satisfaction with the security measures adopted by the law enforcers. They also expressed solidarity with the Sikh community.

Demonstration leader apologises for ‘hurtful comments’

A delegation of the Mian Mir shrine, led by its caretaker, also visited the gurdwara in Nankana Sahib and expressed solidarity the Sikh community. They also emphasised on the teachings of Sufi saints.

Also on Saturday, in stark contrast to his charged sloganeering during the demonstration on Friday, the central character in the altercation, Imran Chishti, posted a video on social media where he could be seen apologising to the Sikh community for any hurtful comments he may have “inadvertently” made against the community or the gurdwara.

Late on Friday, the Foreign Office had issued a statement regarding the altercation in Nankana Sahib “between two Muslim groups”. It claimed that the district administration had immediately intervened and arrested the suspects, who were in custody. “Attempts to paint this incident as a communal issue are patently motivated. Most importantly, the Gurdwara remains untouched and undamaged. All insinuations to the contrary, particularly the claims of acts of ‘desecration and destruction’ and desecration of the holy place, are not only false but also mischievous.”

The statement further said that the Pakistan government remained committed to upholding law and order and providing security and protection to the people, especially the minorities. “The opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan’s special care extended to the minorities, in line with the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” it said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, on Friday evening, tweeted that it was alarmed by the situation in Nankana Sahib. It urged the Punjab government to ensure the safety and security of the Sikh community and their holy places.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2020