New Delhi, Mar 26: Pakistan's deputy Attorney general Muhammad Khurshid Khan on Sunday performed 'seva' (service) at the famous Gurdwara Rakabganj in Delhi by polishing shoes of devotees.
Wearing a kurta he sat hunched on the floor on Sunday afternoon polishing the shoes of devotees in a room in the gurdwara, Times of India reported.
Khurshid Khan had requested he be allowed to perform seva (community service) at the shrine.
Khan, 62, is an eminent lawyer and a devout Muslim from Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province.
He is in Delhi for a judicial conference.
Says Khan: "I have been more keen on visiting various places of worship here to promote harmony between India and Pakistan. I seek harmony among all religions"citing Pakistan's pluralistic heritage.
Khan's tryst with temples and gurdwaras began in 2010 to heal the wounds of minorities in Pakistan by becoming their sevadar (performer of service).
For him,it was a penance for crimes committed by the Taliban. In February that year ,the Taliban had kidnapped three Sikhs from Peshawar and demanded a ransom of $235,000.The Pakistan army rescued two of them, but the third, Jaspal Singh, was beheaded. After the killing,Khan performed service at a gurdwara in Peshawar.
The Taliban, he says, has plundered Pakistans pluralistic heritage. "But I want to tell the world it's unfair to tarnish a whole community for the sins of a few". Khan ran for Pakistan's National Assembly twice.
In Delhi, Khan,accompanied by Surinder Singh, a Delhi based businessman whose father was a comrade of Subhas Chandra Bose,has polished shoes at Gurdwara Sisganj and visited Birla Temple and Hanuman Mandir.
Khan said he turned to other faiths after the Taliban beheaded a Sikh, Jaspal Singh ,in Peshawar in February 2010.
"When I visited the house of Jaspal,I was filled with remorse. The killing weighed on my conscience"
He was perturbed that violence in the name of Islam brought a bad name not only to Muslims and Pakistan but also to his people,the Pakhtoons.
The next day,he went to Gurudwara Bhai Joga Singh in Peshawar and sat on the steps. He could hear the chants wafting out of the shrine. "I felt peace", he says.
The lawyer started reading about Guru Nanak and approached a member of the gurdwara management committee to allow him the opportunity for seva. After discussions,the gurdwara management committee allowed to perform seva.
"For two months, I went to the gurdwara daily before the maghrib azaan (call to prayer at sunset) and polished shoes of devotees.Sevadari is ibaadat (worship)", he says.
In Delhi, Khan also went to Jantar Mantar in the hope of meeting Anna Hazare .He sent his visiting card and waited for close to an hour but could not meet Anna.But he left the place charmed. "It is amazing. This is democracy", he said.
On his way back to Pakistan,he will visit the Golden Temple at Amritsar for the Jora Ghar Seva (polishing shoes of devotees).He had written to PM Manmohan Singh last year to allow him a chance to perform seva at Amritsar. "I am yet to get a reply", he said.
He has performed similar service at Hindu temples and joined church prayers every Sunday in Pakistan.
"I live in a rigid society.But the ulema have never criticized me.The Hadees says anything good must be spread all around," said Khan.
His gesture has been appreciated by Muslims and minorities in Pakistan.