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India


Sukhbir asks Pak High Commissioner to ensure Sikhs not coerced to convert to Islam

(Rptg, correcting file name)
New Delhi, Dec 20 (UNI) A high level delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), led by party President Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Wednesday met Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and sought immediate intervention of the Pakistan government to stop attempts being made to convert Sikhs to Islam in the North West frontier province.
The delegation also urged for strict action against the officials, who had coerced members of the Sikh community in Hunga district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to convert to Islam. It also requested that a delegation of the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) be allowed to visit the affected families.
The delegation further urged the High Commissioner to ensure full protection of all Sikh families residing in the North West frontier provinces.
The Pakistan High Commissioner told the visiting delegation that an officer of local administration had an altercation with Sikh community members.
He said the concerned officer had been suspended immediately for using objectionable language and an enquiry committee has been formed to probe the issue, which would submit its report at the earliest. He also assured the delegation that Sikhs in Pakistan were very much part of the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Badal also brought to the notice of the High Commissioner that Sri Akal Takht was the supreme religious authority of Sikhs and dates decided by it to mark religious functions should be adhered by the Pakistan government.
He said the Pakistan government could consult the SGPC on this issue as it was the elected body of the Sikh community. He said it was unfortunate that a small group of unelected representatives were deciding such dates in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Mr Badal also took up this issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who assured the SAD President that her ministry would take up the issue of forcible conversions with the Pakistan Government at appropriate level. The safety and security of Sikhs residing in that country would be ensured, she assured.
UNI DB RJ 1853/1904
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