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No Sikh converted to Islam: Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday refuted media reports that some Sikhs in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province were forcibly converted to Islam

world Updated: Dec 21, 2017 20:59 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
In this Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 photo, Pakistani Sikh Radesh Singh, left, talks at a temple in Peshawar, Pakistan.
In this Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017 photo, Pakistani Sikh Radesh Singh, left, talks at a temple in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP File Photo)

Pakistan on Thursday refuted media reports that some Sikhs in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province were forcibly converted to Islam.

“Misinformation is being spread about an incident in Hangu,” foreign office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said.

Some shopkeepers, including Sikhs, had gotten into a row with a local official over price checking, he said, adding the official was immediately suspended and a formal inquiry was ordered into the incident.

Noting that the incident is many days old, he said, “the senior members of the local administration remain in touch with the Sikh community in Hangu, which has lived there in peace and harmony for over a century.”

He said Pakistan remained committed to the freedom of religion and protection of the rights of all minorities.

“Sikhs are proud Pakistani citizens and are represented in all walks of life.”

Faisal’s comments came after a local Sikh representative protested over the remarks made by an assistant commissioner in Hangu district earlier this week.

The representative wrote a letter to the district commissioner, lamenting that the assistant commissioner had offered them incentives if they changed their religion.

India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had expressed concern over the reported conversion and promised to take up the issue with Pakistani authorities. (With inputs from agencies)