A Pakistani government agency has come under fire for hosting an official dinner with live music and dance near the revered Kartarpur Gurudwara Sahib, a shrine of immense significance to Sikhs worldwide. The event, held on Saturday, reportedly took place just 20 feet from the shrine’s entrance, raising concerns about the sanctity of the holy site.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that non-vegetarian dishes were served during the dinner, further exacerbating the situation. Additionally, the presence of hired performers who danced to music while Chief Executive Officer Syed Abu Bakar Qureshi of the Project Management Unit (PMU) and other officials joined in the festivities added to the controversy.

Giani Gobind Singh, the granthi of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, was reportedly present at the event, raising questions about his involvement or approval of the proceedings. The incident has sparked outrage among Sikh communities, who view the Kartarpur Gurudwara Sahib as a place of deep spiritual reverence and tranquility.

The proximity of the dinner to the shrine’s entrance and the inclusion of non-vegetarian food and music have been deemed disrespectful to Sikh sensibilities. The event has also raised concerns about the Pakistani government’s commitment to upholding the sanctity of the Kartarpur Corridor and the Gurudwara Sahib.

In response to the controversy, the PMU has denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the event was held “at a distance” from the shrine and that “all protocols were followed.” However, this explanation has failed to assuage the concerns of Sikh groups, who maintain that the event was insensitive and disrespectful to their religious beliefs.

The incident highlights the delicate balance that must be maintained when managing religious sites and ensuring respect for diverse cultural and religious practices. The Pakistani government must take steps to address the concerns raised by the Sikh community and ensure that future events at or near the Kartarpur Gurudwara Sahib are conducted with due consideration for the sanctity of the shrine.