CHANDIGARH/ NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday attempted to deflect attention from Friday’s mob attack on Nankana Sahib shrine by attempting to equate it with protests over the amended Citizenship Act (CAA) and scattered violence in parts of India.
Khan’s attack coincided with the targeted killing of a young Sikh businessman from Malaysia in Peshawar, which drew sharp condemnation from New Delhi over the continuing violence against minority Sikhs in Pakistan.
Khan took to Twitter claiming there was a ‘difference’ between such attacks in Pakistan and those in India.
“The major difference between the condemnable Nankana incident and the ongoing attacks across India on Muslims and other minorities is this: the former is against my vision & will find zero tolerance and protection from the govt including police and judiciary,” Khan tweeted.
Khan claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “vision supports minorities oppression and the targeted attacks against Muslims.”
Islamabad tried to downplay the Sikh angle in the Nankana incident, saying authorities in its Punjab province have informed that it was the outcome of a scuffle between two local Muslim groups at a tea stall and the administration had immediately intervened and arrested the accused. It added, that ‘birth place of Guru Nanak was undamaged.”
The version contradicted its earlier version that the attack was provoked by municipal authorities deciding to turn over the management of Nanak Dev College to Nankana Sahib trust and the protests against it.
Amid Imran’s spin, news broke of the killing of Sikh businessman Ravinder Singh by unknown gunmen. Singh’s younger brother, Harmeet Singh, a Peshwar journalist, told this paper that Ravinder was gunned down as he was shopping for his wedding scheduled in February.
The MEA reacted immediately saying, “India strongy condemns the ‘targeted killing’ of a minority Sikh community member in Peshawar, an incident that took place in the backdrop of an attack on Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.”
MEA demands swift action
The Indian MEA said Islamabad should stop “prevaricating” and should take action to apprehend and punish the perpetrators. It said the Pakistan government should act in defense of its own minorities instead of “preaching sermons” about it to others.