Pak model apologises
over her bareheaded
photo at Kartarpur

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KARTARPUR: After facing backlash over her bareheaded photo at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan model, Sauleha issued an apology to people for unintentionally hurting their sentiments.

“Recently I posted a picture on Instagram that was not even a part of a shoot or anything. I just went to kartarpur to learn about the history and know about the Sikh community. It was not done to hurt anyone sentiments or anything for that matter. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I dont respect there culture. I am sorry. And I just saw people taking pictures and I took a lot of Sikh pictures too there. I wouldn’t have done it at the first place,” she wrote on Instagram.

For the unversed, on Monday, Sauleha received a lot of flak on social media after her pictures posing without a headcover inside the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara went viral. 

Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa, too, criticised the model.

He tweeted, “Such behaviour & act at pious place of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is totally unacceptable! Can she dare to do the same at her religious place in Pakistan?

Pakistan model, Sauleha apologises over her bareheaded photo shot at Kartarpur

In her apology note, the young model stated that she “respects the Sikh culture” and will be more responsible in future. “These pictures were just a part of a memory that I went there. Nothing more nothing less. However, in future, I will always be more clear about these things and refrain to do so such acts. Kindly share it so people must know that it wasn’t intentional,” she added.

A clothing brand has also shared the pictures on their Instagram page. Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa asked the government of Pakistan to take “immediate action” to stop the “trend of treating Sri Kartarpur Sahib as picnic spot.” People cover their heads while visiting a gurdwara as a sign of respect.

Sauleha’s apology wrote, “Recently I posted a picture on Instagram that was not even a part of a shoot or anything. I just went to Kartarpur to learn about the history and know about the Sikh community.” She added, “It wasn’t done to hurt anyone sentiments or anything for that matter. However, if I have hurt anyone or they think that I don’t respect there culture. I am Sorry (sic).” The brand also affirmed that the pictures weren’t part of the photoshoot.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the designer and the model should apologise to the Sikh community, adding, “Kartarpur Sahib is a religious symbol and not a film set.”

Pakistan model, Sauleha apologises over her bareheaded photo shot at Kartarpur

CM Punjab Usman Buzdar was quick to take notice of the incident and sought a report from the chief secretary, while ordering an inquiry into the incident. 

He stated that action should be taken against the staff as well, who allowed the photo-shoot. “We respect the sentiments of minorities living in Pakistan,” he said and added it is clear that the incident has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.

“Not only will action be taken against those responsible after a comprehensive investigation into the incident but it will also be seen being taken,” he added.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had also demanded an apology from a clothing brand’s designer and model for staging a photo session at the Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

On the other hand, Punjab Police in its statement on social networking website said that all aspects of the incident are being investigated and strict legal action will be taken against those responsible, adding that the management of the relevant brand and model are also being investigated.

Meanwhile, the clothing brand has apologized on its Instagram account, stating that “Mannat Clothing did not participate in any of the photo shoots shown on our accounts. A third-party (blogger) sent us these photos, in which they were wearing our clothing.”

The Punjab Police launched an investigation after a female blogger’s photos taken at the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur sparked criticism on social media on Monday.

The probe was initiated after an Indian Sikh independent journalist, Ravinder Singh Robin, criticised the model’s photos on Twitter.

“Modelling bareheaded for ladies’ attire, in the premises of Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib at #KartarpurSahib in Pakistan, by a Lahorite woman has [severely] hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs,” he wrote, noting that the pictures had been uploaded to social media.

Replying to his tweet, Azhar Mashwani, the Punjab chief minister’s focal person for digital media, said the matter had been “forwarded to concerned authorities for legal action”.

The Punjab Police tweeted sometime later that they were “investigating all aspects related to this incident and strict legal action will be taken against [those] responsible”.

“[The] management of concerned brand & model are being investigated. Worship places of all religions are equally respectable,” it said.

The blogger’s photos were shared on the Instagram page of a clothing brand named Mannat Clothing, but were removed after the criticism.

Mashwani later told Dawn.com that police would first investigate the “model” and the brand’s role in the capturing of the photos and later “register a case”.

“[Police] are checking whether the model conducted the photoshoot on her own or the brand carried out the session,” he said.

In an Instagram post, Mannat clarified that “the pictures posted on our accounts are NOT part of any [photo]shoot done by Mannat Clothing. These pictures were provided to us by a third party (blogger) in which they were wearing our dress.”

“However, we accept our mistake that we should not have posted this content and we apologise to every single person who was offended by this,” it added.