Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday expressed relief after Pakistan announced that a 19-year-old Sikh woman who was allegedly abducted, converted forcibly and married to a Muslim man was free to return to her home, ANI reported.
“Relieved that Jagjit Kaur has returned to her family in Nankana Sahib,” said Singh. “I thank everyone who lent their voice to Jagjit Kaur and ensured that the wrong that was committed against our daughter has been corrected. Such forced conversions have no place in a civilised world and must stop.”
Earlier in the day, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Chaudhry Sarwar, said the matter was “amicably resolved to the satisfaction of the concerned families” after negotiations between a government delegation and a 30-member committee of the Sikh community.
In a video posted on his Twitter handle, Sarwar thanked Kaur’s family, and the man who had been accused of abducting and forcibly converting her for coming to the Governor House to sort out the matter. “Great news for Pakistani and Sikh communities across the world,” Sarwar said. “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!”
In the video, the father of the man who allegedly forced Kaur to convert to Islam and marry him said they “will not approach any court for the girl’s custody”. “If she wishes to go with them [her family], we have no objections,” he added. “They are her guardians.”
A representative of the Sikh community thanked the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the governor for intervening and resolving the matter.
On Monday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had expressed strong concerns about Kaur’s case and the alleged forcible conversion of a girl from Sindh province, and had sought “remedial action” from Pakistan.
After the incident came to light, the police reportedly identified the suspects and traced them to Lahore. They detained one of them. Three people involved in the incident received anticipatory bail, while two others were absconding. However, Kaur’s lawyer reportedly contacted the police and informed them that she had willingly embraced Islam and had married. A writ petition was filed in the Lahore High Court on Kaur’s behalf against her family and local police personnel for “illegal harassment”. In a written statement, she accused her family of “wanting to kill her”. Kaur was then kept at Darul Aman in Lahore on the orders of an additional sessions judge.
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