In statement, Interior Ministry claims a local attempted to stoke communal strife over personal enmity
The Interior Ministry of Pakistan on Friday night rejected as “absolutely incorrect” reports that a mob targeted the Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib earlier in the day on religious grounds.
“This incident was the result of an altercation between the owner of a tea stall and a customer,” clarified the statement issued to media. It said the situation had returned to normal after dialogue and the media was free to visit the site to confirm the government’s stance. “The law is being enforced and we are committed to providing security to all citizens,” it added.
Earlier, panic spread on social media as dozens of angry protesters converged on Nankana Sahib, pelting the Gurdwara with stones and threatening to raze it to the ground over alleged injustices to members of their family. A viral video of the event shows the lead instigator demanding justice for a relative who is accused of forcibly abducting a Sikh girl and converting her to Islam—an allegation denied by the family, who maintain Jagjeet Kaur (or Aisha Bibi) opted to marry Hassan of her own free will and was willing to testify in court to this effect.
In the video, Hassan’s brother, Adnan, is seen condemning alleged police brutality against his sibling over the case. Police were deployed to the site to prevent unrest, but several people said the local Sikh population feared backlash and visiting pilgrims were forced to seek shelter in the Gurdwara itself. Indian media also boosted the visibility of the story, but attempting to use it as justification for its controversial citizenship law, which fast-tracks citizenship for non-Muslims facing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Minister Noorul Haq Qadri told media the demonstration was organized by Hassan’s family and neighbors, who were demanding he be released unless he is convicted in a court of law. Qadri also slammed India’s attempts to transform an ordinary dispute into an example of communal strife, claiming New Delhi was trying to shift attention from its own domestic unrest.
The protesters dispersed after a local leader of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Shahzad Khalid, assured them of justice.
According to the Interior Ministry, the protests erupted after two men, Saqlain and Mumtaz Ali, visited the Zaman Malik Shop near the Gurdwara and complained of a fly in their teacup. In response, the owners—Zaman, Iftikhar and Adnan—attacked them, resulting in a scuffle. Police reached the scene upon receiving reports of the conflict, and took all five into custody.
Imran, another brother of Hassan, then started to protest, gathering around 150 locals by claiming his family had been targeted by police because his sibling had eloped with a Sikh girl, who had converted to Islam. The Interior Ministry statement stressed that it was Imran, and Imran alone, who had tried to turn the matter into an issue of communal strife.
According to the statement, the PTI-led government was committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, especially minorities. It said the recently inaugurated Kartarpur Corridor was proof of Pakistan’s commitment to respect for all minorities.
In its statement, the Foreign Office slammed the allegations of desecration and destruction of the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara as “false” and “mischievous.” It said attempts to suggest this situation was driven by religious strife were “patently motivated,” noting the Sikh religious site remained untouched and undamaged.
“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,” the Foreign Office added.
“The district administration immediately intervened and arrested the accused, who are now in custody,” said the statement. “The Government of Pakistan remains committed to upholding law and order and providing security and protection to the people, especially the minorities. The opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is a manifestation of Pakistan’s special care extended to the minorities, in line with the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” it added.