Pakistan formed a high-level committee to negotiate with a 30-member team formed by the Sikh community in connection with the case of forced conversion of a Sikh girl, Dawn reported on Friday. The 19-year-old was allegedly kidnapped, then forcefully converted to Islam and made to marry a Muslim man.

Police have reportedly identified the suspects and traced them to Lahore, detaining one of them. Three people involved in the incident received anticipatory bail while two others are absconding, a memorandum to the inspector general of police, Punjab, by Nankana Sahib district police officer said.

Meanwhile, the woman’s lawyer reportedly contacted the police and informed them that she had willingly embraced Islam and had married the Muslim, one of the prime suspects in the case. A writ petition had been filed in the Lahore High Court on the woman’s behalf against her family and local police personnel for “illegal harassment”, the woman said.

The woman also submitted a written statement in court, admitting the same and accused her family of “wanting to kill her”. She is currently at Darul Aman in Lahore under the additional sessions judge’s order.

Nankana Sahib’s district police officer attached the “relevant documentary and video proof of the nikah and the girl’s conversion to Islam” along with copies of documents from the National Database and Registration Authority that stated that the woman was 19 and the marriage certificate. “It is requested that concerned quarters may kindly be taken on board so that Sikh community could be engaged and pacified timely as the community has announced to protest if their demand is not honoured,” Dawn quoted the district police officer as saying.

The district police official also mentioned that any protest in the wake of prevailing tension between India and Pakistan over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status would tarnish the country’s reputation internationally.

Indian reactions

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Friday, called the incident shocking and said that asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action. “Call upon Imran Khan to take firm and immediate action against the perpetrators,” Singh tweeted. “Request [External Affairs Minister] S Jaishankar to strongly take up the issue with his counterpart at the earliest.”

“It is a shameful act,” ANI quoted Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal as saying. “This issue will be raised and action will be taken. Friends of Imran Khan who are in other parties in Punjab should tell him to put an end to such things.”

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