NEW DELHI: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday urged Union external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar to seek a categorical assurance from Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan that assets and lives of minorities would be protected and that all those responsible for the hate attack on Sikhs as well as stoning of Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib would be arrested and awarded exemplary punishment.
SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal led the delegation which called on the external affairs minister and included senior SAD leaders and the heads of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Committee and Patna Sahib Committee.
Sukhbir also urged Jaishankar to raise the issue of atrocities being committed by Pakistan against minorities in the United Nations. He said from a total of 40,000 in the 2002 census the Sikh population had come down to around 5,000. “This itself is proof of forced conversions,” he added.
He said the delegation members briefed the external affairs minister that the situation was so bad in Pakistan that even those looking after gurdwaras were not safe. Urging for urgent intervention on this issue at the highest level, he said “if anybody can attack and stone Gurdwara Janam Asthan then no minority is safe in Pak”.
The delegation also pointed out that the Pakistan government should be asked to take prompt and exemplary action in case any minority community is targeted in any manner. “If the government had acted decisively in the case of attack on Sikh community members at Gurdwara Janam Asthan and stoning of the gurdwara it would not have set off the chain reaction which led to the killing a Sikh youth in Peshawar,” he added.
The delegation members also conveyed to Jaishankar that the recent events in Pakistan had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community worldwide. They said Sikhs living in Pakistan had already stated that they were feeling insecure. “Even out holiest shrine is not safe. In such a situation Pakistan should be asked to take concrete steps to ensure the safety and security of the Sikh community as well as all other minorities living in Pakistan,” they added.
A violent mob had attacked the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara and pelted it with stones on Friday. A day after the incident on Saturday, a Sikh youth, Ravinder Singh, was murdered in broad daylight in Pakistan's Peshawar.