June 23, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: As per reports emanating from Panja Sahib (Hassan Abdal) in Pakistan, the Indian High Commissioner was told to return without “meeting” Sikh yatris in Gurdwara Panja Sahib.
While sections of Indian media and pro-India Sikh organisations like Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) are critical to the government of Pakistan for alleged deliberate action preventing High Commissioner form visiting the Panja Sahib, the reports in Pakistani media maintains otherwise. Pakistani media says that Indian official’s visit was cancelled due to fear of protest from Sikh yatris.
A report in online edition of an Indian newspaper- The Tribune (TT) notes that no official response from India or Pakistan was available yet.
The Tribune report, however, suggests that Pakistani authorities deliberately prevented Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria from visiting Gurdwara Panja Sahib despite having requisite permission. Ajay Bisaria was reportedly accompanied by his wife and other Indian officials.
DSGMC chief Manjit Singh G.K. and SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal have already issued statements criticising Pakistani authorities and backing the Indian side. They did not even wait for official response from India and Pakistan on this matter.
A report in online edition of a Pakistani newspaper- The Express Tribune (ET), however, notes that Sikh yatris were upset over Indian High Commissioners’ proposed visit to Gurdwara Panja Sahib. It adds that Pakistani authorities requested Indian officials to not to visit the premises of Gurdwara Panja Sahib in order to avoid protest by the Sikh yatris.
The Pakistani newspapers maintains that the Sikh yatris were angry over comments passed by the Indian Supreme Court back in April in a case related to a controversial film called Nanak Shah Fakir.
Express Tribune reports that Matrooka Waqf Imlak Board authorities feared verbal altercation from aggrieved Sikhs which is why they requested the commissioner to return back.
The newspaper also referred to announcement by Sikh diaspora in North America and various European countries imposing restrictions on official visit of Indian representatives in Sikh Gurdwaras.
It is notable that the Sikh diaspora groups in Western countries had said that while everyone was welcome as a devotee, no Indian representative would be allowed to use Gurdwara stage. They had alleged that the Indian consulates and High Commissions were cause trouble with in the Sikhs with their undue interference in Sikh matters.
As the relations between Pakistan and India are not in good terms it is expected that both sides would use today’s incident to start a fresh round of blame game. It seems that the neighbours having hostility towards each other are using the Sikh yatra to set their diplomatic scores.
Notably, Sikhs from across the globe visit Paksitan to observe various Sikh days. Presently Sikhs are visiting Pakistan to mark the death anniversary of Sher-E-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh.