AMRITSAR: Protesting against shifting of Baba Guru Nanak International University (BGNIU) from birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, the lawyers and civil society of the historical town staged a demonstration against Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Siddiq-ul-Farooq.
Anwar Jahid, an advocate from Nankana Sahib, told TOI on Monday that the ETPB chairman was trying to shift the prestigious BGNIU project to Islamabad for some vested interests. “We staged demonstration against Farooq and wouldn’t let the university project shift from Nankana Sahib,” he said.
According to information, following protests by an influential group of lawyers and local residents of Nankana Sahib, the Pakistan government has postponed the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the university.
Jahid said for the past several months they had been holding protests against the ETPB. “On late Sunday late evening, Farooq came to Nankana Sahib to join the Sikhs’ religious function despite local administration advising him not to visit owing to anger among local people. We, along with traders, businessmen and youth, staged a demonstration against him following which he had to go from the function using the rear exit,” he allegIn 2009, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz had announced to set up a university on Sikh religion and culture after the name of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev at his birthplace Nankana Sahib and had also constituted a committee for the purpose.
However, when it came to acquiring land for the university, the ETPB officials ignored the norm which angered the local residents of Nankana Sahib, especially a strong lobby of advocates who blamed them of corruption and intimidating them. The verbal duel between the two reached a flash point when in 2016 a group of lawyers stormed the ETPB office in Nankana Sahib.
After that the ETPB chief decided to shift the venue to Muridke, which also has the headquarters of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), and that was not acceptable to the residents of Nankana Sahib. They started a movement pressurizing the Pakistan government to built BGNIU at Nankana Sahib only. Later, the board presented a proposal to make the university headquarters at Karachi too.
Jahid alleged that the police used force against the angry protesters leaving a few of them injured. Sources informed TOI that various Sikh leaders, who had converged at Nankana Sahib to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, had convened a meeting of Sikh leaders, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) office-bearers, representatives of Nankana Sahib Bar Association and representatives of various trade and business associations of Nankana Sahib to discuss the BGNIU project.ed.
03 Mar 2021
04 Mar 2021