Pak Sikh to sue security personnel over religious freedom

A Pakistani Sikh was stopped from entering the court complex with his kirpan.

Islamabad: A Pakistani Sikh plans to file a petition against the security personnel of the Lahore High Court after he was stopped from entering the court complex with his `kirpan` or ceremonial sword.

Ajeet Singh, who wanted to enter the complex to meet his lawyer, exchanged angry words with guards after he was asked to remove his kirpan at the entrance gate yesterday.

He refused and left without going inside.

A security official at the High Court told The Express Tribune newspaper that guards had been instructed not to let anyone enter with weapons, including blades.

He said even policemen had to remove their weapons at security posts at four entry points of the complex. Singh said a Sikh never removed his kirpan and asking him to do so was tantamount to asking him to violate his religion.

"I cannot part from my kirpan as, according to my religion, it is part of my body," he said.

"I do not take it off while sleeping or while bathing. How can they force me to remove it? I have engaged a lawyer to file a writ petition against this discriminatory behaviour of the Lahore High Court security personnel."

Singh said even the most security conscious countries had accepted that Sikhs could carry the ceremonial sword with them.

"Sikhs carry their kirpans in airports and airplanes and in offices all over the world. I entered the White House with my kirpan and no one considered it a security threat," he said.

Ali Imran Naqvi, Singh`s lawyer, said he was preparing the petition and would file it in a couple of days.

Singh said he had gone to the court complex to meet Naqvi to file a petition to stop his removal as head `granthi` of the historic Gurdwara Janamsthan in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.

A security official at the High Court acknowledged that no Sikh had previously been stopped from entering the complex with his kirpan. Another security personnel said it was his job to shadow and keep a discrete eye on Sikhs who entered the building.

"Sikh advocates would come to the Lahore High Court to meet other lawyers and they were never asked to remove their kirpans," he said.