Pakistan has taken a shocking step against the minority Sikh community there. It has been revealed that the Imran Khan government has taken away control of the sacred place of the Sikhs, Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur and given it to a Muslim body. Pakistan has actually snatched away the management of Gurdwara from the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC). Pakistan has explained this away by dubbing it a ‘Project Business Plan’, which is to be looked after by 9 officials of ETPB. It is headed by Muhammad Tariq Khan.
The Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) on November 3 (Tuesday) officially took away the full control of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Punjab’s Narowal District from Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee and gave it to Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), a Muslim body. The ETPB manages religious properties and shrines of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan.
Notably, the move acquires even more sinister undertones as it comes days ahead of the first anniversary of the inauguration of the historic Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. The 4-km long corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev. On November 9, 2019, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had formally inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as part of commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak at a colourful ceremony.
An official order on November 3 states, “Consequent upon the approval of Project Management Unit (PMU) Kartarpur Corridor by ECC of the Cabinet, and ratified by the Cabinet (conveyed by MoRA…dated 23.10.2020), the competent authority has been pleased to establish Project Management Unit (PMU), a self-financing body, for Management and Maintenance of Gurdwara Dardar Sahib Kartarpur (GADSK) under the administrative control of ETPB.”
It further listed nine officials and staff members who have been posted at PMU at Kartarpur Narowal to implement the Project Business Plan. The officials are– Muhammad Tariq Khan, AS Shrines, ETPB as Chief Executive Officer OPS (additional charge); Abdullah Awais, Assistant Administrator as Deputy Secretary Admn/ Finance OPS; Haider Muktar, Accountant; ETPB as Assistant Accounts Officer; Ahsan Khan, ASO, ETPB as Security Officer; Haider All Bangash, Computer Operator, ETPB; Khushnood Shoukat, UDC (Survey), ETPB; Arshad Guijar, LDC (Accounts), ETPB; Adil Ali, Naib Qasid, ETP and Tanveer Ahmed, Driver, ETPB.
It added, “All officers/ official…are relieved from their duties with immediate effect with directions to join their new place of posting forthwith.”
On October 29, PSGPC chief Satwant Singh had told news agency PTI that it will celebrate the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. However, the ETPB had distanced itself from the PSGPC’s initiative, saying “it has not received any instructions to celebrate the first anniversary of the inauguration of the corridor so far”.
“We have decided in principle to celebrate the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor and for the purpose, we will invite some two to three ministers and other government functionaries,” Singh told PTI. When asked as to why the ETPB was not hosting this function along with the PSGPC, Singh had said, “Since the construction of Kartarpur Corridor is a historic event, the Sikh body in Pakistan has decided in principle to celebrate its first inauguration anniversary. And so far the ETPB is concerned, we are inviting it and other government functionaries and ministers for the event.”
The corridor, which allows Indian pilgrims to undertake visa-free travel to the Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara – was closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India has said a decision to re-open the Kartarpur corridor would be taken in accordance with the protocols relating to COVID-19 and easing of restrictions.
Singh further said that Sikhs from all parts of Pakistan would visit the corridor on November 9. “Some 500 to 1,000 locals visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib daily,” he had said. Meanwhile, an official of the ETPB had told PTI that no function in connection with the first anniversary of the inauguration of the corridor has been planned at the government level. “The PSGPC is organizing a programme on its own,” he had said.
Earlier in October, the Foreign Office had said that Pakistan will celebrate the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev from November 28 to 30.
To catch up to WhatsApp, Signal adds custom wallpapers and animated stickers.
Signal enjoyed an unexpected uptick in users following WhatsApp’s recent privacy blunder. In an effort to capitalize on its rising popularity, Signal has started testing features that make the messaging platform feel a little friendlier.
Earlier this month, Signal announced a handful of new features that would be coming to the platform, including chat wallpapers and animated stickers. As promised, these two features are now available in the beta version of the app, making it feel more like WhatsApp than ever before.
Android Police got its hands on both new features, sharing screenshots of what chat wallpapers look like. You can change your chat wallpaper in Signal by going to Settings > Appearance > Chat wallpaper. You can also change the wallpaper of an individual chat by tapping the person’s name in the top bar and looking for the chat wallpaper option.
There are a total of 21 chat wallpapers to choose from, including 12 solid colors and 9 gradient colors. Android Police said you can also choose a photo from your phone’s camera roll for extra personalization. Before, Signal featured only white and black backgrounds depending on if dark mode was enabled on your device.
Android Police also provides a quick preview of Signal’s new animated stickers—something the platform has dabbled with in the past. There’s a new Day by Day sticker pack that contains 24 animated stickers to help liven up your conversation. The art is by Miguel Angel Camprubí.
Finally, Signal appears to be adding a simple About section for users’ profiles. Users will have the opportunity to choose an emoji and also add a short description of themselves. It’s a simple way to share some of your personality before even having a conversation. Apparently, Signal users can save several blurbs and switch between them on the fly, essentially making them status updates.
If you’re on iOS, Signal said it also plans to add media auto-download settings and full-screen profile photos, the latter of which is already available on Android.
These new additions to Signal appear to be in the beta version of the app for now. Hopefully, testing goes smoothly so they can be added to the stable build. Once that rolls out, we’ll be sure to let you know.