The incident at Nankana Sahib is a microcosm of interfaith politics in Pakistan; from how fringe groups can use the existing power dynamics to assert themselves, to how the same dynamics can produce a public response that reaffirms our principles of harmony and coexistence. The matter has been resolved amicably and the offending parties have reportedly made amends along with the local community notables, but that alone is not enough the mend the rifts caused by this regrettable incident. The state, the civil community, and the justice system needed to close ranks in support of our Sikh community – and it is encouraging to see they have.

On Saturday, Muttahida Aman Council met with Nankana Sahib Deputy Commissioner (DC) Raja Mansoor and also paid a visit to the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib. Similarly, a delegation of the Mian Mir shrine, led by its caretaker, also met with the denizens of the Gurdwara to express solidarity with the community. These visits come on the back of political and bureaucratic officials rushing to ensure that that all grievances are resolved and further escalation is ruled out. These public statements were backed by the Prime Minister himself, who said in clear terms that the incident goes against “his vision and will find zero tolerance and protection from the government including police and judiciary”.

This prompt response not just by the state, but especially by religious figures is exactly what was needed. If the name of Islam is being misused to create divide, the same name needs to be used to heal divisions.

It is encouraging to see that the same narrative of interfaith tolerance that drove the Kartarpur initiative is being carried forward in Nankana Sahib. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf needs to make sure it backs up its words with actions, especially in the context of what is happening in India.