An attempt to occupy an 18th-century gurdwara in Pakistan's Punjab province has been foiled, media reports said today. The police stepped in when a group of five women, who claimed themselves as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists, tried to occupy the 18th-century gurdwara in Sori Gali near Ghaa Mandi yesterday.
Their leader and former councillor Romana Safdar Gujari told the police that she had close ties with Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law. She also claimed that Gurdwara Singh Sabha property had been allotted to her by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) on lease.
She claimed she had a letter from ETPB chief Asif Hashmi in this regard. The PML-N, however, said Gujari was not a member of the party’s women’s wing.
The gurdwara houses a civil defence post. The women were later arrested.
Gurdwara Singh Sabha was constructed during the British rule. Iqbal Qasir, Punjabi Khoj Garh director, told Dawn that the gurdwara was built by local Sikhs without any funds from the Akal Takht. After Partition in 1947, the building was allotted to the Civil Defence Department.
“We condemn all such attempts. I again request the Pakistan Government to hand over all gurdwaras to the committee so that we take care of religious sites with honour and dignity,” Robinder Singh, Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee member, was quoted as saying. Pakistan has several gurdwaras, including Nankana Sahib where Sikh religion founder Guru Nanak Dev was born. Minorities form approximately 4 per cent of Pakistan's population of nearly 180 million. — Agencies
Islamabad, Monday, February 27, 2012