India has summoned Charge d’Affaires of Pakistan to express its deep concern about the “insult of the sanctity of Gurdwara Shri Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur” by a Pakistani model and a clothing brand.
The Pakistani model’s photo shoot at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in her country has been heavily criticized for hurting the feelings of Sikhs. The model, Sauleha, is seen topless in the photos posted on Instagram. Covering one’s head in a gurdwara is mandatory.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement: “Pakistan’s chief of staff was convened today to express our deep concern over the incident of insulting the sanctity of Gurdwara Shri Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur by a Pakistani model and a clothing brand”.
– Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) November 30, 2021
“It is said that this deplorable incident has deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community in India and around the world. Such continuing incidents of insulting and disrespecting places of worship have been reported. The self-religion of minority communities in Pakistan shows a lack of respect for the beliefs of these communities,” the statement said.
It added: “We expect the Pakistani authorities to investigate this matter sincerely and take action against those involved.
Topless model for women’s clothing, on the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman, hurt some of the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. Furthermore the images have been uploaded on social media.@ImranKhanPTI@MORAisbOfficialpic.twitter.com/i5RX01kWGo
– Ravinder Singh Robin (@rsrobin1) November 29, 2021
Sauleha later deleted the photos and posted an apology on her Instagram page. In her apology, she said she did not intend to hurt anyone. “Recently, I posted a photo on Instagram that wasn’t even part of a shoot or anything. I just went to Kartarpur to learn about the history and get to know the Sikh community. I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings or anything because of that. However, if I’ve hurt anyone or they think I don’t respect their culture, I apologise.” she wrote in her Instagram post.
The brand has also clarified that the photos are not part of the photo session.
Pakistani police have begun investigating the incident. Police said they are looking into all aspects of the shooting and will take action.
Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the designer and model must apologize to the Sikh community. “Kartarpur Sahib is a religious icon not a movie set,” he tweeted.