Pakistan Summons Indian Diplomat for 'Mischievous Spin' Over Desecration at Kartarpur Sahib

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A Pakistani fashion model has provoked a row after posting on Instagram a picture of herself in front of Kartarpur Sahib, a Sikh shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Sikhs have described the impertinence of the act as “bare-faced”, adding that the decision to be pictured with her back towards the shrine was a “desecration”.
The Pakistani government on Thursday summoned a senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad and complained that New Delhi is giving a “mischievous spin” to gain political advantage over an incident involving a model posing at the Sikh shrine of Kartarpur Sahib.

“The Indian diplomat was told in no uncertain terms that the incident was swiftly dealt with and that the Pakistani government takes the rights of minorities extremely seriously. The sanctity of religious places and shrines of whatever religion is safeguarded in Pakistan,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement.

Pakistani authorities went on to urge the Indian diplomat to shine a spotlight on the “gross and systematic persecution of minorities in India”, according to the statement.
Islamabad has in the past criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for what it calls the “persecution of Muslims” and other minorities. Islamabad has also accused India of carrying out a “demographic change” in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir and deplores New Delhi’s decision in 2019 to scrap its semi-autonomous status.
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The Pakistani foreign office added that, given India's history for mistreating minorities, “it has absolutely no right even to pretend that it cares about these people in other countries”.
Pakistan's official protest comes after India's foreign ministry summoned on 30 November a diplomat from the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi to express its “deep concern at the incident of desecration", at the shrine of Kartarpur Sahib "by a Pakistani model and a clothing brand”.

“It was explained that this reprehensible incident has deeply hurt the feelings of the Sikh community in India and worldwide. To continue in desecrating and disrespecting minority places of religious worship simply shows how little respect Pakistan has for the faith of these communities,” Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesman of India's foreign ministry, said.

This furore among members of India's Sikh community kicked off because of an Instagram post by Pakistani model Sauleha while modelling for Mannat Clothing.
After this post appeared online, India's Sikh leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa urged the Pakistani government not to let the Sikh shrine be turned into a “picnic spot”, demanding a proper investigation into the incident and for those responsible to be punished.
Pakistan’s federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry has apologised for the incident and called for an inquiry. The Punjab Police have also promised to look into the matter.
The model, Sauleha, deleted her controversial post on Wednesday (1 December) and apologised for modelling at the Sikh shrine.
“Recently I posted a picture on Instagram that was not even part of a shoot. I just went to Kartarpur to learn about the history of the Sikh community. The picture wasn't meant to hurt anyone's feelings. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don’t respect their culture [then] I am sorry," she wrote in an Instagram post.
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