On Monday (May 24), the Sikh community in Pakistan was informed about threats given by banned Islamist terror outfit Balochistan Republic Army (BRA). It must be mentioned that BRA is an Afghanistan-based organisation with close ties to the Taliban.
Reportedly, a Sikh leader by the name of Ranjit Singh was warned about the threat by officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB). Singh, who serves as the Granthi of Gurdwara Guru Ramdas Ji in Chuna Mani in Lahore, immediately sent out a voice message alerting the Sikh community in Lahore and Nankana Sahib. The audio clip has now gone viral on social media. The Granthi had urged the Sikhs to remain vigilant and not to step outside their houses at night.
In the audio message, he said, “After the culmination of daily evening Diwan at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, an announcement was made by ETPB officials that Sikhs living in Lahore and Nankana Sahib have received life threats so they should submit their details including residential address, contact numbers etc with the police so that necessary security measures could be taken.” Ranjit Singh has urged the Sikh community to not panic and instead submit their documents to Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), or ETPB.
Given that a large number of Sikhs living in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Nanakana Sahib have migrated from Afghanistan, ex-PSGPC member Maninder Singh also released a voice message alerting Sikhs in Pashto language. It must be mentioned that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Pakistan had earlier arrested four terrorists connected with BRA in April. Citing sources, Zee News reported that the alert by Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) is linked with the arrest of the 4 terrorists.
A Sikh resident in Lahore, who runs a cloth shop, informed that the police visited his store to ask for documents. Another Sikh in Nankana Sahib informed that the Pakistani government had been collecting their data to make necessary security arrangements. Interestingly, ETPB Chairman Dr. Aamer Ahmad denied collecting documents from the Sikh community. He alleged, “We vehemently deny such reports, there is no threat to Sikhs in Pakistan.”
Islamists pelted stones at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in 2020
In January last year, an angry mob of Muslims had gathered around the Sikh shrine of Gurudwara Nanakana Sahib and started pelting stones at it. The mob was being led by the family of Mohammad Hassan, the boy who allegedly abducted and converted Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur, who is the daughter of the gurdwara’s granthi. The mob of angry Muslims gheraoed the holy shrine on Friday afternoon, leaving many devotees stranded inside.
The protesters threatened to destroy the gurdwara and build a mosque in its place. Hundreds of Muslims protestors swarmed the Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and raised inflammatory slogans against the Sikhs. “We will not let any Sikh live in Nankana Sahib and will its name to Ghulam-e-Mustafa,” one of the irate Muslim protestors exclaimed.
The police along with the Pakistani Rangers and Army had rushed to the spot to quell the protest but they had failed in dispersing the violent mob away from the Gurudwara. The situation was brought under control after the local police and Pak Rangers arrested the protesters. However, the mobs dispersed only after police released Hassan, the man who had abducted Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur, daughter of the Gurdwara’s panthi.