Lahore,Mina Dawood,Pak:-Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal returned his homeland without performing his religious rituals at Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib in Hasanabdal – one of the sacred places of Sikhism – because of security concerns, it is learnt.
“Although the visiting deputy chief minister used Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s bulletproof car during his five-day stay in the province, he could not visit Hasanabdal – an area neighbouring with once terror-plagued Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK) – because of security reasons,” a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.
Leading a 45-member delegation, Singh reached Lahore on November 5 on the invitation of the CM Shahbaz. The delegates went back on November 9.
The police official said the delegates visited many important places, including universities and colleges, and attended activities scheduled for Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, including the Punjab Youth Festival.
But, anxiety for Punjab chief minister surfaced when the Pakistan High Commission informed him about a letter written by Indian High Commission over a security threat to Singh, he said.
Quoting the letter, the official said that the Pakistan High Commission was informed that Singh was a ‘high-value target’ in the neighbouring country and he might be targeted in Pakistani land. “The Indian High Commission made a request to Pakistani Punjab government for the provision of VVIP security to Singh – security measures like that of provincial chief’s, bullet-proof vehicle and signal-free roads –to avoid any untoward incident.”
Following the Indian High Commission request, the police official said, the security requirements for the visiting guest were met, though the provision of the demanded-vehicle and signal-free roads was not a normal practice in the province.
The cop claimed that the provincial government expressed incapability to provide foolproof security to the guests when they raised the demand for visit to Hasanabdal, compelling them to go back without performing religious rituals.
Spokespersons for the provincial government, Senators Pervaiz Rashid and Sardar Zulfqar Khosa, and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah could not be reached despite repeated attempts. Thousands of Sikhs across the world visit the gurdwara on Besakhi every year or whenever they came to Pakistan.