Chandigarh: With reports of Sikhs in Pakistan's 'being forced to convert to Islam', Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to take up the matter with Pakistani authorities.
Tweeting about it, Singh wrote, “Request @SushmaSwaraj ji to take up this issue with Pakistan. We cannot allow the Sikh community to be victimised in such a manner. It’s our duty to help protect the Sikh identity and the @MEAIndia should pursue the matter at the highest levels.”
Within hours, Swaraj tweeted back. "We will take this up at the highest level with Government of Pakistan," she wrote.
The Sikh community in Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, alleged that they were 'being forced to convert to Islam' by government officials.
The Chief Minister also wrote a letter on the subject to Swaraj.
The Indian government is duty-bound to ensure that Sikhs in any part of the world are not victimized or coerced in any manner, wrote Singh in the letter. “We are duty-bound to protect the identity of Sikhs, wherever they (Sikhs) may be living.”
Pointing out that the community, which had been living in the area for more than a century, was reported to have filed an official complaint to the district deputy commissioner, Captain Amarinder said it was a serious issue, especially considering that the forced conversions were allegedly being spearheaded by a government official.
Religious freedom is the right of every human being and should be upheld by all countries in the larger interest of humanity, he added.