A day after Pakistani authorities arrested a man over the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara incident, the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has termed India’s condemnation of the incident related to Sikh community as propaganda.
On Friday, tensions erupted at Nankana Sahib, a historic Sikh shrine in Punjab province, after hundreds of people started pelting stones and threatening to destroy it. An unknown number of pilgrims were inside the gurudwara. The mob was being led by the family of Mohammad Hassan, a young man who allegedly abducted and converted a Sikh girl, Jagjit Kaur.
The Nankana Sahib incident and the murder of a Sikh youth have caused an outcry in the Sikh community, which is a minority in Pakistan, and lead to criticism of the Indian government.
Tension has already gripped the Sikh community in Pakistan’s Punjab province over the abduction and conversion of a Sikh girl in August, 2019. She was allegedly forced to marry a Muslim youth.
On Monday, the Government of Pakistan accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Indian government of indulging in “smear campaign” against it and also targeted the BJP’s parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said: “the BJP government's mischievous portrayal of isolated law and order incidents as alleged ‘persecution’ of minorities is part of its smear campaign against Pakistan.”
“These blatant lies are yet another illustration of the quintessential RSS-BJP propaganda drive, which will fail. Indian attempts to politicise the tragic killing of Pakistani Sikh youth are also mischievous and reprehensible. As this crime was reported, a case was registered immediately and a high-powered committee constituted to investigate the matter. The law will take its course and those responsible will be brought to justice,” the ministry added.
Making a scathing attack on India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he has "zero tolerance" for the people who attacked a Sikh shrine near Lahore. He alleged that unlike Indian leader Narendra Modi he doesn’t support violence against minorities.
The major difference between the condemnable Nankana incident & the ongoing attacks across India on Muslims & other minorities is this: the former is against my vision & will find zero tolerance & protection from the govt incl police & judiciary;— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 5, 2020
Pakistan’s reaction came in response to an Indian External Affairs Ministry’s statement issued on Friday seeking strong action against "troublemakers seeking the desecration of the holy Gurudwara and attacked members of the minority Sikh community”.