Pakistan denounces attempts to portray Nankana Sahib altercation as ‘communal issue’

FO says claims of acts of ‘desecration and destruction’ at Sikh holy place not only false but also mischievous


Our Correspondent January 04, 2020
Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana. PHOTO: RP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have denounced as “patently motivated” the attempts give communal colour to an altercation at a tea-stall near Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib.

“The provincial authorities in Punjab have informed that there was a scuffle in the city of Nankana Sahib today (Saturday), between two Muslim groups,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.

The altercation happened on a minor incident at a tea-stall, according to the statement. “The district administration immediately intervened and arrested the accused, who are now in custody.”

Celebrating Sikhism: Kartarpur Corridor opens today

The spokesperson said that “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 spokesperson said.

Separately, a spokesperson for the interior ministry also sought to clarify that no attack had occurred at the gurdwara and the “government is committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, especially religious minorities”.

The spokesperson added that the opening of Kartarpur Corridor was a manifest example of Pakistan’s commitment to respect for the minorities.

Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib is another spot that draws millions of Sikh followers from all over the world. The gurdwara, also known as Nankana Sahib, was built on the birth site of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

Other important gurdwaras include Dera Sahab in Lahore and Punja Sahab in Hassan Abdal, where Sikh devotees from across the globe visit and perform religious rituals.

In pictures: Signing of Pakistan, India historic Kartarpur Corridor agreement

In November 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the historic Kartarpur corridor, for the followers of Guru Nanak, allowing them to visit the revered guru’s final resting place without a visa.

The three-kilometre corridor provides visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims, allowing them to travel to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak spent the final years of his life.

The prime minister has won the hearts of millions of Sikhs by opening the Kartarpur corridor and the Sikh community all over the world called it “a dream come true” for their community.

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