India summons Pak Charge d’Affaires over model’s photoshoot at Kartarpur gurdwara

India on Tuesday summoned the Charge d’Affaires at the Pakistan High Commission and conveyed its deep concern over a Pakistani model’s photoshoot at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, describing it as a “desecration” of the sanctity of the holy place.

Calling it a “reprehensible” incident, India said it expects Pakistani authorities to “sincerely investigate” the matter and take action against those involved.

Model Sauleha’s “bareheaded” photoshoot for a Pakistani clothing brand at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib set the social media abuzz on Monday as many people accused her of hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community.

The model later deleted her photos from her Instagram page and posted an apology.

“Pakistani Charge d’Affaires was summoned today to convey our deep concern at the incident of desecration of the sanctity of Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur by a Pakistani model and a clothing brand,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Bagchi was responding to a media query on the matter.

The MEA spokesperson said it was conveyed to the Pakistani diplomat that this “reprehensible” incident has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community in India and worldwide.

“Such continued incidents of desecration and disrespect of places of religious worship of the minority communities in Pakistan highlight the lack of respect for the faith of these communities,” he said.

“It was further conveyed that we expect Pakistani authorities to sincerely investigate this matter and take action against those involved,” Bagchi added.

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district which is about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur.

It is the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, who had spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.

In November 2019, India and Pakistan threw open the Kartarpur corridor linking Dera Baba Sahib in Gurdaspur with the Gurdwara in Kartarpur in a historic people-to-people initiative.

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