New Delhi: A Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) delegation, led by its president Sukhbir Badal, urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday to seek a categorical assurance from Pakistan that those responsible for a "hate attack" on Sikhs, as well as the stoning of Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib, would be given an "exemplary punishment."
Badal also urged Jaishankar to raise the issue of atrocities being committed by Pakistan against minorities in the United Nations, the party said in a statement.
Claiming that from 40,000 Sikhs as per the 2002 census, the number of the community members had come down to around 5,000 in Pakistan, Badal said, "This itself is proof of forced conversions."
Citing the recent incident of stoning and attack by a mob on Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of first Sikh guru Guru Nanak Dev, the SAD chief said if anybody could attack and stone the holy shrine, then no minority was safe in Pakistan.
"The delegation requested the External Affairs Minister to seek a categorical assurance from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that assets and lives of minorities would be protected and that all those responsible for the hate attack on Sikhs as well as stoning of Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib would be arrested and awarded an exemplary punishment," the statement quoted Badal as saying.
The SAD delegation said the Pakistani government should be asked to take prompt and exemplary action if any minority community was targeted in any manner.
The delegation members also told Jaishankar that the recent events in Pakistan had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community worldwide and the Sikhs living in Pakistan had already stated that they were feeling insecure.
Later in the day, the external affairs ministry summoned Pakistan's Charg d'affaires Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest over the alleged desecration of Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, and killing of a Sikh in Peshawar.
The ministry said Shah was conveyed that India wanted immediate measures to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of such "despicable and heinous acts" to justice.