Law officer shines shoes at Gurdwara to project soft image of Pakistan

Law officer shines shoes at Gurdwara to project soft image – By Mohammad Ali Khan

PESHAWAR, May 31: A senior politician and member of the legal team of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has begun serving worshipers in a Gurdwara, located in the heart of the provincial capital, in his effort to build soft image of Pakhtuns tainted by militancy.

From 9am to 5pm, Khurshid Khan serves as deputy attorney general of Pakistan disposing of judicial affairs relating to the federal government, but in the evening he is a Sevadar (a servant without pay) in Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh located in the Dabgari area of Peshawar.

According to the Sikh faith, only people from the Sikh community volunteer to serve in Gurdwara by enrolling their names in a register kept by an organising committee for each place of worship.

Usually, the turn of a volunteer comes in three to four weeks, but Mr Khan is doing this job continuously for two months, says Gorcharn Singh, a young Sevadar standing beside him.

Volunteers can be asked to work anywhere in Gurdwara, but the most rewarding job, according to the Sikh belief, is to take care of the shoes of worshipers. Mr Khan is doing the same job since he managed his access to this Gurdwara. Worshipers deposit their shoes at the entrance of Gurdwara, where they are given a token.

“I am doing this job mainly to satisfy my soul because I have developed the feelings that minorities in this region are not treated the way our culture and values teach us,” Mr Khan told Dawn, while handing over shoes to a worshiper.

Kidnapping of three Sikhs, one of whom was beheaded later, was something that shocked Mr Khan, who wanted to express solidarity with the Sikh community that he materialised by becoming a Sevadar.

“I am a fundamentalist Muslim but I am not terrorist; I am Pakistani but I am not terrorist and I am Khan but not terrorist,” said Mr Khan, while elaborating his ideology behind his decision to become Sevadar.

Mr Khan often hits the headlines by coming up with innovative methods to express his views on particular issues. In the 2002 election, he shot himself during a press conference when the PPP entered into an electoral alliance with the Awami National Party. His second and most prominent action was in 2008 when he sprayed black colour on the face of Advocate Ahmad Raza Qasuri to express his anguish against his anti-Zulfikar Ali Bhutto comments.

On Sunday next, he is planning to go to Punja Sahib, another holy place of the Sikh community in Hassanabdal and then to Sheikhupura to do the same job. He is also intending to go to worship places of other religions in coming days.

Mr Khan said his purpose was just to tell the world that Pakhtuns were not violent people and they believed in peaceful coexistence. “This is my mission that I will continue while serving minorities in this country for the rest of my life.”

Tuesday, 01 Jun, 2010

Courtesy- DAWN


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