Shocking visuals showed hundreds of angry Muslims pelting stones on the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on Friday. 

The mob was led by Mohammad Hassan, who had abducted and converted a Sikh girl, Jagjit Kaur, the daughter of the Gurdwara’s granthi. “We will destroy the Gurdwara and build a mosque and we will ensure that Nankana Sahib is renamed as Ghulam-e-Mustafa,” Hassan was heard screaming.

Why we need the new citizenship law:

The act at Nankana Sahib was a brazen one. Making matters worse was the fact that the same criminal who had converted a Sikh girl before abducting her was out in the open shouting anti-Sikh slogans.

This clearly was a sign that he has not been acted upon by the Pakistan establishment for acts of religious persecution. It was keeping in minds such incidents that the Indian Government decided to amend the citizenship law and grant citizenship to the persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The minorities include the Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains and Christians.

The persecution of the religious minorities in Pakistan has been the most brazen. The administration out there has done very little to protect the minorities. India, on the other hand, decided to give them a home and shelter them with rights. The visuals from Nankana Sahib must ring a bell in the minds of those who are out on the streets rioting against the new law and destroying public property that belongs to the tax payer.

Such incidents alone must strengthen the resolve of the government not to back down. Union home minister, Amit Shah, had rightly said that there was no question of going back on the new law.

The importance of Nankana Sahib:

For the Sikhs, both in India as well as Pakistan, Nankana Sahib is a place of great importance. Guru Nanak was born in Talwandi, Pakistan Punjab. Talwandi was renamed Nankana Sahib to recognise the contributions of Guru Nanak. Nankana Sahib, roughly translated, would mean, the revered place of Nanak.

When the partition took place, it was a matter of great sorrow for the Sikhs that Nankana Sahib fell under the jurisdiction of Pakistan. The pain was such that the Sikhs included in their daily prayer that they be united with Nankana Sahib. The visuals that emerged from Pakistan would have no doubt been extremely painful for the Sikhs community and Indians as a whole.

Mohammad Hassan:

The man leading the protests was Mohammad Hassan. In August 2019, he had abducted Jagjit Kaur, the daughter of a priest at the Gurdwara and converted her to Islam. 

A video had been released at that time, in which the family members say that a group of men had barged into their homes and abducted the girl. They further say that the girl had been forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Hassan. 
There were clashes between the Sikhs and Muslims, but Hassan maintained that the girl had married him out of her own will. 

Sikhs are almost extinct in Pakistan:

In the 2017 census, Pakistan had excluded the Sikhs for reasons best known to them. However, data shows that there were around 40,000 Sikhs in Pakistan back in 2002. The number now stands at a little lesser than 8,000.

The decline is attributed to two facts. Some of them have fled to India unable to bear the persecution. A large majority of the Sikhs have forcibly been converted to Islam, by the fanatics at the behest of the Mullahs. 

The Sikhs who remain in Pakistan have been complaining about repeatedly being persecuted. Their lands have been taken away, which has forced many into poverty. They are discriminated against and even denied education in Pakistan. The only form of education available to them would be the one imparted in the Madrasas and that is after they are forcibly converted.

What is worse is that Imran Khan adopts double standards when it comes to the Sikhs. On one hand, he pays for the foundation stone with respect to the Kartarpur Sahib project and on the other hand, he stays mum on the persecution of the Sikh community. 

It may be recalled that in 2009, the Taliban had imposed Jizya on the non Muslims in Pakistan. Jizya is a per capita yearly taxation that is levied in the form of financial charge on non Muslims in a state that is governed by Islamic law.

The houses of 11 Sikh families were demolished for refusing to pay up. In 2010, a Sikh youth Jaspal Singh was beheaded after his family could not pay Jizya. Several Sikhs had to abandon their homes and flee. In 2018, a prominent Sikh leader, Charanjeet Singh, was shot dead in Peshawar. This marked the 10th targeted murder since 2014.

Kartarpur and Referendum 2020: 

While the Kartarpur Corridor is a noble initiative, the Indian Intelligence has repeatedly said that the ISI cannot be trusted. An IB official explained to MyNation that the very fact that the ISI allowed Referendum 2020 campaigners to open an office in Lahore raises suspicion.

The campaigners, who are part of the Khalistan movement, had even said that hundreds of its campaigners had even reached Nankana Sahib to coordinate the Referendum 2020 campaign. 

Referendum 2020 is a campaign being run by pro-Khalistan elements with the backing of the ISI to declare Punjab as a separate nation. As part of this programme, the ISI has backed such campaigners to run a propaganda campaign among the pilgrims. The intention is to whip up passions and dish out local support to facilitate the return of Khalistan terror in Punjab.

Further, the ISI has for long sheltered the Khalistan terrorists in Pakistan. They have been imparted training along with the terrorists of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Officials say that Pakistan is known for its double speak. It speaks about the Kartarpur Corridor on one hand and on the other, it lets radical elements like Hassan wreak havoc in religious places. Worse, it also turns a blind eye, when religious places are used by terrorists to campaign for the separation of Punjab from India.