Thursday, March 24, 2011
Lahore, Mar 24 : Sikhs in Pakistan will stage a protest in Lahore on Friday over the construction of a plaza on gurdwara land.
They will stage a sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly for two hours against the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) administration, Sikh leaders told The Express Tribune.
Former Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Perbandhak Committee (PSGPC) President Sardar Bishon Singh said that if the government failed to stop the construction of a plaza over Gurdwara Deewan Khana, Indian Sikhs would join their protest and send delegations to Pakistan to record their disapproval.
He said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had met an Indian Sikh delegation led by Shiromani Gurdwara Perbandhak Committee (SGPC) representative Sardar Swinder Singh Doblia on November 27, 2010, and then told the ETPB to stop the construction of the plaza on the land.
The EPTB had complied with the order at that time, but a part of the gurdwara was demolished and the construction was resumed on March 19, he added.
Singh pointed out that if religious sites were not protected in the country, it would be a violation of the Constitution besides being an international embarrassment for Pakistan.
Meanwhile, EPTB chairman Asif Hashmi said that the deal to build a plaza on the gurdwara land had been struck with the nine tenants, who had temporary shops near the gurdwara for many years, before he took office.
He admitted that the site had religious significance for the Sikh community, adding that he would cancel the deal between the tenants and his department and return the amounts paid by the tenants as part of the deal.