Saturday, November 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak plans law on Sikh shrines
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Lahore, November 22
The Government of Pakistan is contemplating an Act on the pattern of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, for “better management” of gurdwaras in this country, the demand of the SGPC to disband the PSGPC notwithstanding.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Manmohan Singh Khalsa, Chairman, World Muslim-Sikh Federation (WMSF) and Dal Khalsa leader claimed that Mr Khalid Ranjha, Union Law Minister, had assured a delegation of Sikh representatives that the constitution of the PSGPC was being finalised. Under the proposed legislation, election of the PSGPC would become mandatory.

Mr Manmohan Singh further said that due representation would be given to the SGPC and representatives of various Sikh institutions across the globe.

Mr Avtar Singh Sanghera, a U.K-based radical Sikh, said the PSGPC could not be considered “complete” without the participation of the SGPC. He said the latter should guide the PSGPC, especially in case of the “maryada” (Sikh tradition).

In a significant development, the WMSF has proposed constituting a “religious advisory board” (RAB) so that the “maryada” in Pakistan Sikh shrines is maintained. Mr Manmohan Singh said the PSGPC was ready to implement “maryada” as finalised by the SGPC and Akal Takht. Asked if the PSGPC would accept the edicts (Hukamnamas) issued by Akal Takht, he replied in the affirmative.

The PSGPC also proposes to constitute “dharm parchar committee” (DPC) on the pattern of the SGPC for propagation of Sikhism in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in a brochure “Sikh Gurdwaras in Pakistan — Past & Present”, the PSGPC has claimed that it spent Rs 1.5 crore on renovation of Sikh shrines in Pakistan since the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa Panth.

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