Pakistan on Friday rejected reports that Gurdwara Nanakana Sahib near Lahore was desecrated by certain groups. Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, also known as the Gurdwara Janam Asthan, is the site where the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak, was born. It is regarded as one of the holiest Sikh sites.
Foreign Office in a midnight statement said the provincial authorities in the Punjab province have informed that there was a scuffle in the city of Nankana Sahib on Friday between two Muslim groups. The altercation happened on a minor incident at a tea-stall and the District Administration immediately intervened and arrested the accused.
“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,” said the FO. It said the Government of Pakistan was 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. According to some Indian media reports, a mob attack took place at the shrine. The reports suggested that hundreds of angry residents at Nankana Sahib pelted the Sikh pilgrims with stones on Friday.
India’s External Affairs Ministry said members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of violence at the holy city of Nankana Sahib. “India strongly condemns these wanton acts of destruction and desecration of the holy place. We call upon the government of Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure safety, security, and welfare of the members of the Sikh community,” the MEA said in a statement.
“Strong action must be taken against the miscreants who indulged in desecration of the holy Gurdwara and attacked members of the minority Sikh community,” it said. The MEA said the reprehensible actions followed the forcible abduction and conversion of a Sikh girl who was kidnapped from her home in the city of Nankana Sahib in August last year.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also expressed concern over reports of the mob attack on the Nankana Sahib gurdwara. In a tweet, Singh appealed to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure that the devotees stranded at the gurdwara are rescued from the mob. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue with his Pakistani counterpart.