Pakistan summons Indian Deputy High Commissioner, rejects allegations over Nankana Sahib vandalism

Islamabad [Pakistan], Jan 7 (ANI): Pakistan on Tuesday summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to "convey strong rejection of allegations" over Nankana Sahib attack and Sikh youth's killing Peshawar.

"Indian Charge d'Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned by Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri today to convey Pakistan's strong rejection of "baseless and fabricated Indian allegations" concerning the Sikh community," Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It said Chaudhri conveyed Pakistan's "strong denouncement" of India's "allegations of attack, vandalism, and desecration" at the holy Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and "targeted killing" of Pakistani Sikh youth in Peshawar.

"Chaudhri also underscored that the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal rights to all its citizens and the Government is "committed to protecting the rights of minorities, with zero-tolerance against any discrimination," the statement said.

India had on Monday summoned Acting Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to lodge a strong protest with Pakistan over the recent acts of vandalism and desecration at the revered Nankana Sahib Gurdwara and the "targeted killing" of a Sikh youth in Peshawar.

An angry group of local residents pelted stones at the revered Sikh shrine in Pakistan on January 3. The group was led by the family of a boy who had allegedly abducted Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur, daughter of gurdwara's panthi, last year.

On Friday, India had strongly condemned the "wanton acts of destruction and desecration" at the Gurudwara, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, and called upon Pakistan to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and welfare of the members of the Sikh community.

New Delhi had also shared strong concerns over the "continued persecution of religious and ethnic minorities" in Pakistan, including the recent "despicable and heinous acts". Body of the Sikh youth, identified as Ravinder Singh, was found in the Chamkani police station area of Peshawar on Sunday. He was the brother of an Islamabad-based journalist, Harmeet Singh. (ANI)