The matter of alleged forced conversion of a 19 years old girl from Sikhism to Islam has been “good-naturedly resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned families” after negotiations between a high-level government delegation and a 30-member committee of the Sikh community, Governor of Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar announced on Tuesday.
In a tweet from his official account, Sarwar thanked the families of Jagjit Kaur — the girl who was supposedly forced to convert; and the man who had been suspected of abducting and forcibly converting her, for coming to the Governor House in order to sort out the matter.
“Great news for Pakistani and Sikh communities across the world. Issue of Nankana girl was amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned families. The girl is safe and in touch with her family. We shall continue to ensure the rights of minorities in Pakistan!” the governor tweeted.
Great news for Pakistani & Sikh communities across the world. Issue of Nankana girl was amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned families. The girl is safe & in touch with her family. We shall continue to ensure the rights of minorities in Paistan! #Sikhcommunity pic.twitter.com/ZBiluHTucy
— Mohammad Sarwar (@ChMSarwar) September 3, 2019
In a video posted on Sarwar’s Twitter account, the father of the man who allegedly forced Kaur to convert and marry him declared that they “will not approach any court for the girl’s custody”.
“If she desires to go with them (her family), we have no objections. They are her guardians,” he said.
A representative of the girl’s family and the Sikh community thanked the government as well, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and the Punjab governor for intervening and solving the matter.
Earlier in the day, Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took to Twitter to claim that the girl has returned to her family in Nankana Sahib. Though, the claim has yet to be confirmed.
The problem came to light last week, when a first information report (FIR) was registered in the Nankana police station against six people who were suspected of kidnaping and forcefully converting 19-year-old Kaur. Police had found the nominated persons to Lahore and had detained one of them, although three others had obtained pre-arrest bail. The remaining two were at large.
As the FIR was lodged, the police were communicated by Sheikh Sultan, who said he was Kaur’s advocate and told officials that she had embraced Islam and contracted marriage with Mohammad Hassan of her own free will.
Kaur’s advocate also said that he had filed a writ appeal in the Lahore High Court on behalf of Kaur against her family and local police, blaming them of “illegal harassment”. A statement by the girl was submitted in writing in the court, in which she also blamed her family of “wanting to kill me”.
Following Kaur’s proclamations in court, the Sikh community had demanded that police bring her back to her parents’ house irrespective of the conversion being forced or consensual.
The issue was brought to the government’s attention by the district police officer of Nankana Sahib, who sent a memorandum to the inspector general of Punjab police in which he detailed the expansions of the case and urged for “relevant quarters” to intervene.
“The Sikh community is agitating against the incident and videos of family of the girl were also viral on social media and international media,” the memorandum read.
“It is demanded that concerned quarters may kindly be taken on board so that Sikh community could be engaged and pacified timely as the community has proclaimed to protest if their demand is not honored.”