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Tuesday, 11 May 2021 03:58 GMT

Pakistan says attack on Sikh shrine was result of a quarrel between two Muslim groups


(MENAFN - NewsIn.Asia) Islamabad, January 6 (Dawn): In a statement issued late on Friday, the Pakistan Foreign Office clarified that the incident in Nankana Sahib was the result of an "altercation between two Muslim groups" and that it should not be portrayed as a communal issue.

"The provincial authorities in the Punjab have informed that there was [a] scuffle in the city of Nankana Sahib, between two Muslim groups. The altercation happened on a minor incident at a tea stall," the FO spokesperson had said, adding that the district administration "immediately intervened" and arrested the accused, who are now in custody.

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

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the recent incident in Nankana Sahib goes against his "vision and will find zero tolerance and protection from the government including police and judiciary".

On Friday, police had to step in amid rising tensions in Nankana Sahib after a heated debate at a tea stall threatened to blow into a big law and order issue, an official source had said.

Reports said four customers while taking tea at Zaman's stall in front of Gurdwara Janam Asthan started a conversation about his nephew, Muhammad Ehsaan who, just a few months ago, came into the limelight for marrying a Sikh girl after allegedly forcing her to convert.

Zaman reportedly reacted with anger, which led to a confrontation between two groups. A small crowd gathered to raise slogans. A team of Nankana Sahib police had to intervene briskly to control the situation.

Speaking at a news conference in Nankana Sahib on Sunday, Interior Minister Brig retired Ijaz Ahmad Shah said that Nankana Sahib is an example for the world and the rest of the country in terms of minorities living and coexisting in peace and camaraderie.

'However, when you live together, conflict also tends to arise,' he said.

He expressed disappointment over the fact that the incident in Nankana Sahib on Friday was 'exaggerated' in local and international media.

'The Kartarpur Corridor has bridged the distance between Muslims and the Sikh community. This has been hard to digest for a select few, internationally and locally,' he maintained.

'I have been told that slogans favouring the leaders of other political parties were also chanted during the incident. I will not name them. [But] this confirms my belief that anti-state elements wish to damage the relations between the Muslims and the Sikh community,' he added.

In a statement issued late on Friday, the Foreign Office had clarified that the incident in Nankana Sahib was the result of an "altercation between two Muslim groups" and that it should not be portrayed as a communal issue.

"The provincial authorities in the Punjab have informed that there was [a] scuffle in the city of Nankana Sahib, between two Muslim groups. The altercation happened on a minor incident at a tea stall," the FO spokesperson had said, adding that the district administration "immediately intervened" and arrested the accused, who are now in custody.

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

The Indian View

The attack on the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, in Pakistan has triggered protests among Sikhs in India, India Today reports.

While several Sikh groups were to protest outside Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi on Saturday to condemn the attack, Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the issue with his counterpart in Islamabad Imran Khan since Sikh minorities in the country were feeling extremely unsafe and insecure.

On Friday, the Gurdwara was attacked by a huge Muslim mob while Sikh devotees were stuck inside the shrine.

The mob that had gathered outside raised communal and hateful slogans against the minority community and pelted stones on the shrine, videos circulated on social media showed.

Pakistani sources said the mob was led by the family of Mohammed Hassan, the man who had abducted and converted a sick girl Jagjit Kaur, to protest police action against him.

The Nankana Saheb attack is violative of the 1955 Pant-Mirza Agreement under which India and Pakistan are obliged "to make every effort to ensure that the places of worship" visited by members of their countries "are properly maintained and their sanctity preserved."

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