No Sikh threatened, the fight was between 2 Muslim groups: Pakistan

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Facing criticism for vandalism in the Sikh shrine of, Pakistan on Saturday he said the altercation involved two Muslim groups instead of intimidation of the Sikhs within the - a surprising claim to the videos of Friday's incident.

Pakistan said what happened at the birthplace of Guru Nanak involved two Muslim groups and attempts to paint it as communal were “patently motivated”. While India had not officially responded to the Pakistan foreign ministry’s statement till late evening, officials here described it as a blatant lie.

India firmly condemned the attack, which saw the mobs throwing stones at the gurdwara, apparently in retaliation against the Sikhs who filed a police complaint for the kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage in August last year of Jagjit Kaur, The daughter of a granthi. The mafia was led by the brother of the man with whom Kaur married by force, and who can be heard threatening to evict the Sikhs from the sanctuary.

According to eyewitnesses, the situation became so tense that the local Sikh population and visiting pilgrims were forced to seek refuge in the gurdwara. A viral video of the event showed the main instigator demanding justice for his brother, Mohammad Hassan, accused of kidnapping Kaur. According to Hassan's family, Kaur chose to marry the defendant of his own accord and is willing to testify in court.

Interestingly, the minister of religious affairs and interfaith harmony, Noorul Haq Qadri, supported the original account of the attack on gurdwara. He told the media that the protest was organized by Hassan's family and neighbors, demanding his release from police custody. Qadri criticized India's attempts to transform an ordinary dispute into an example of communal conflict, claiming that New Delhi was trying to divert attention from its own internal unrest.

On the other hand, the Pakistan interior ministry tried to pass off the incident as literally a “fly in a teacup”. According to them, two men, Saqlain and , visited a tea shop near the gurdwara and complained of a fly in their tea. In response, the owners — Zaman (Hassan’s uncle), Iftikhar and Adnan (Hassan’s brother) —attacked them, resulting in a scuffle.

Pakistan said the gurdwara remained “untouched and undamaged” and added, “All insinuations to the contrary, particularly the claims of acts of ‘desecration and destruction’ and desecration of the holy place, are not only false but also mischievous.”

Official sources in Delhi said instead of taking firm action against miscreants, Pakistan was trying to give a new and absurd twist to the incident which had hurt Sikhs all over the world. “Can Pakistan also deny videos of people openly abusing Sikhs and threatening to drive them out of Nankana Sahib?” asked an Indian official.

The incident and the viral videos are a setback to Pakistan ’s bid to reach out to Sikhs, stir up the Khalistani cause and create trouble for India. The reports of Jagjit Kaur’s abduction and the mob at Nankana Sahib sits poorly with Pakistan ’s efforts to turn Sikh groups against India and it seems to have chosen to pretend that Friday’s incident never happened.

Professing commitment to protecting minorities, Pakistan went on to mention the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, calling it a manifestation of Islamabad Special attention extends to minorities.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Meanwhile, he tweeted a report from the Indian media in which he claimed that police brutality had reached new lows and that his pogrom of Muslims in India continues as part of the fascist agenda of Modi Govt. The government sees this as another attempt by Khan in the last 24 hours to divert attention from the events in Nankana Sahib. Khan had spent an old Bangladeshi video on Friday as the one about police brutality in UP.

On Friday, dozens of angry Muslim protesters gathered in Nankana Sahib, throwing stones and threatening to raze him to the ground.

Some media reports suggested that four clients who drank tea at a post in front of the gurdwara began a conversation about Hassan, which caused Zaman, his uncle, to react in anger, which led to a confrontation between two groups.