The Pakistan Police on Monday started a probe into a photoshoot of a Pakistani model without a head covering for a clothing brand at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. Police launched the investigation after an Indian Sikh journalist criticized the photographs for hurting the religious sentiments of the community. Indian Sikh freelance journalist Ravinder Singh tweeted mentioning that the photos were uploaded on social media and underlined the disrespect towards the community. Singh also tagged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in his post.
He tweeted, ‘A lady from Lahore has hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs by modeling headless for women’s clothing in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur Sahib, Pakistan. Covering your head is mandatory in the Gurudwara and it is considered as a way of showing respect to this holy place. Reacting to Singh’s tweet, Azhar Mashwani, who watches digital media for the Punjab chief minister, said the matter has been “referred to the concerned authorities for legal action”.
Investigation continues against the model
Shortly thereafter, the Punjab Police tweeted that they were investigating all aspects of the incident and that strict legal action would be taken against those responsible. It tweeted, ‘Investigation is being done against the management and model of the respective brand. Places of worship of all religions are respected equally. According to a report in the newspaper ‘Dawn’, the pictures of the model were shared on the Instagram page of an apparel brand named ‘Mannat Clothing’, but it was removed after criticism.
Pak minister said – apologize to the Sikh community
The news quoted Mashwani as saying that the police would first investigate the role of the brand and model in taking the photos and later register a case. He said, ‘Police is probing whether the model herself got the photoshoot done or whether the brand did it.’ Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted, “The designer and model should apologize to the Sikh community for the photographs.” He tweeted, ‘Kartarpur Sahib is a religious symbol…’
The company apologized on Instagram
Reacting to the entire controversy, the ‘Mannat Clothing’ brand apologized in a post on Instagram and denied that the pictures posted on their account were part of any photoshoots done by them. The post said, ‘These pictures were provided to us by a third party (blogger) in which our dress was worn.’ It said, ‘However, we accept our mistake that we should not have posted this material and we apologize to everyone who has been hurt by this.’
Protest started in India too
There was opposition in India also regarding this. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chairman Manjinder Singh Sirsa had written a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressing strong objection to the photoshoot. He wrote that people go to the Gurudwara wearing uncivilized clothes, make Tiktok videos and use the Gurudwara premises as a picnic spot. He had demanded strict action against such people.
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Photoshoot done without covering the head in Kartarpur Sahib