Pak Sikhs flay ex-min­is­ter for re­mark on Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTREGION -

AMRITSAR : The Sikh com­mu­nity in Pak­istan has strongly ob­jected to the deroga­tory re­mark made by Pak­istan Mus­lim League (PML-N) leader and coun­try’s for­mer rail­way min­is­ter Khawaja Saad Rafique against Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Em­pire, and de­manded an apol­ogy from him.

Rafique, who is fac­ing trial in cor­rup­tion cases in Pak­istan’s courts, in a tweet termed Ran­jit Singh as an “au­thor­i­ta­tive looter”, held him re­spon­si­ble for the des­e­cra­tion of mosques dur­ing his regime and the dom­i­na­tion of the Do­gras in the Kash­mir val­ley.

“The sci­ence min­is­ter should apol­o­gise to the na­tion for call­ing Ran­jit Singh’s era the golden age and terming him the great­est hero of Pun­jab,” reads the tweet writ­ten in Urdu.

The Pak­istan Sikh Gur­d­wara Par­band­hak Com­mit­tee (PSGPC) has lodged protest against the state­ment. “The words used by the for­mer rail­way min­is­ter are highly ob­jec­tion­able. The Sikh com­mu­nity in Pak­istan and the gur­d­wara man­age­ment com­mit­tee strongly con­demn th­ese words,” said PSGPC pres­i­dent Sat­want Singh.

He said, “It is sad that Rafique has not read his­tory of Sikhs who have al­ways favoured hu­man val­ues. As far as Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh is con­cerned, we don’t have any sin­gle in­stance from his 42-year-long regime that he ever com­mit­ted any atroc­ity against any per­son. The big­gest ev­i­dence of this is that no­body was sen­tenced to death in his rule.”

“Lead­ers of Sikh com­mu­nity had never been da­coits or rob­bers. He should apol­o­gise for this,” he added.

Also, Gopal Singh Chawla, a Khal­is­tan sym­pa­thiser, said in a video that Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh was their hero and words against him are not tol­er­a­ble.

“Had he (Rafique) been a good politi­cian, he would not face so many cases. Ma­haraja Ran­jit Singh never dif­fer­en­ti­ated be­tween peo­ple on the ba­sis of reli­gion,” he said.

Be­sides, some lib­eral Mus­lims in Pak­istan have con­demned the re­mark. “He has no right to use th­ese kinds of words,” said Shahid Shabir, an ac­tivist work­ing for the preser­va­tion of Sikh her­itage in the coun­try.

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