New Delhi, December 22: A delegation of Congress MPs from Punjab led by state party chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar today raised the issue of alleged “forced” conversion of Sikhs in Pakistan with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Delegation members including Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said that they were concerned about the “forced” conversion of Sikhs to Islam in Pakistan and solicited the ministry’s urgent intervention to protect the identity of the Sikh community settled there.
Jakhar, in a party release here, said that after Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh raised the issue, the Centre has already directed the Indian High Commission in Pakistan to take it up at the highest level with Islamabad.
“However, we believe the matter to be extremely grave, therefore, it should be taken up personally with the Pakistani authorities without delay by the minister herself,” he said.
He added that media reports suggested that a government official was involved in spearheading the conversion campaign in the Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
“In such circumstances, there is a dire need for the Indian government to engage directly with the government in Pakistan instead of routing it through the Indian High Commission,” he added.
Jakhar said unless immediately nipped in the bud, the alleged forced conversions have the potential of escalating out of control, which would have a disastrous effect on the future of the Sikhs settled in the neighbouring country.
He said that in the long run, it could lead to total annihilation of the Sikh identity in Pakistan, which could also trigger a cascading impact on Sikhs living in other parts of the world.
The delegation asked the MEA to intercede on a personal basis and pressurise the government in Islamabad to take strong steps to put a stop on the conversions and provide all necessary protection to the Sikh community the, release said.
Source Money Control