ASIA/PAKISTAN - Murder of two Sikhs in Peshawar: alarm of religious minorities

Monday, 16 May 2022 religious minorities   religious freedom   human rights   violence   persecutions  

Peshawar (Agenzia Fides) - "Religious minorities in Pakistan are continuously persecuted, we are worried for our protection and our future in Pakistan. Members of minority religious communities are attacked and killed. The murder of the two Pakistani Sikhs is a disgrace for us. We strongly condemn this attack on members of the Sikh community and call on the President, Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and Prime Minister of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa (KPK) Province to "to work for the protection of religious minorities living in Pakistan; we also demand the arrest of the murderers of our Sikh brothers",
says Ashiknaz Khokhar, a well-known human rights activist in Pakistan, to Fides, referring to the last episode that troubled society. Highlighting his concerns for the protection of religious minorities, Ashiknaz Khokhar said: "The government of Pakistan still has a lot of work to do to promote harmony and peace in Pakistan. This killing of two innocent Pakistani Sikhs is yet another attack on the image of Pakistan". On May 15, two unidentified men killed two Sikhs at the Bata Tal bazaar in Peshawar, while the two Sikhs were busy setting up their shops. Saljeet Singh, 42, and Ranjeet Singh, 38, died instantly. Police said: "This appears to be an episode of targeted killings aimed at instilling fear among religious minorities. The Sikhs were shot several times and then the killers fled the scene". After the murder, the Sikh community in Peshawar protested, chanting slogans and demanding protection, the arrest of the killers and justice. Waseem Ghouri, President of the National Minorities Alliance, strongly condemning this terrorist act, said: "It is very sad that innocent people are being killed because of hatred and discrimination. We stand with our Sikh community in Pakistan and demand justice". Joseph Johnson of the NGO Voice for Justice said: "This attack shows how endangered religious minorities are in Pakistan. The Pakistani government must take action to protect religious minorities who live under threat and constant fear". Concern about the lives of minorities also affects the Christian community: on May 13, two Christians, Rajish Bhatti and Naqash Bhatti, were killed by Muslims in Taxila following a minor dispute, and the local population raised signs that read "Christians lives matter". Earlier this year on January 30, 2022, a similar incident occurred in Peshawar when two Christian Pastors were attacked by two men on the road near the Madina market. One of the Pastors died in this attack (see Fides, 31/1/2022). (AG/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/5/2022)