Sikhs barred from Pakistan gurdwara

July 20th, 2011 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 20 (IANS) A human rights panel of Pakistan has described as “scandalous” the barring of Sikhs from a gurdwara in Lahore.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan noted with concern the barring of Sikhs and called the restriction by Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) shocking and a violation of fundamental rights, Daily Times said in a report Wednesday.

HRCP said in a statement Tuesday: “While extremist element’s barring religious minorities from their worship places in Pakistan no longer surprises anyone, but the ETPB’s decision to deny Sikhs entry into gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh in Lahore on the eve of Shab-e-Barat is scandalous.”

After a group of men claimed that the gurdwara was built on the site of burial place of a Muslim saint, the ETPB allowed both communities to observe their religious rituals.

The media report said the police at the gurdwara prevented the Sikhs from congregating to commemorate an eighteenth-century saint July 16 as the Shab-e-Barat was to be observed two days later.

“The ETPB has no right to ask members of a religious faith to postpone rituals of their faith inside their places of worship, or to give precedence to religious rituals of one faith over another,” said the HRCP statement.

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