New Delhi: Predominantly living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces, the Sikhs are a small population in Pakistan. However, this minority community is deprived of their religious and constitutional rights.
About 60,000 Sikhs live in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including 15,000 in Peshawar alone.
Sikhs living in Peshawar have to travel miles to perform the last rites of their loved ones in the absence of a crematorium for their community.
The President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Manjit Singh GK, said it was this discrimination in Pakistan which forced Sikh representatives to take the matter to court.
He said, “I think had there been a cemetery for Sikhs, this issue would not have reached the courts, and now when it has reached the court, the government should give details of the cemetery. There is no cemetery for Sikhs in the locality and it is 45 kilometres away in Attock.”
Manjit Singh asserted that the situation for minorities in Pakistan is not upto the mark, and added that there is a devious nexus between the political class and the land mafia, which have snatched thousands of acres of the land belonging to the Sikhs and their gurdwaras.
He said, “I believe the minorities are not treated the way they should be treated. If I take up the issue of gurudwara land, we have thousands of acres of land in Pakistan, and, I talk about Nankana Sahib, which is the birthplace of Guru Nanak, there is almost 20,000 acres of land which belongs to Nankana Sahib. There are many who are conniving with the local land mafia and selling the land to people who want to do away with the land that belongs to Nankana Sahib.”
Various human rights reports over the years point towards Pakistan’s dismal record in managing the affairs of its minorities.
Despite having a dedicated Ministry for Minorities and Other Religions, the establishment in Pakistan has failed to address the concerns of Sikhs in a constitutional manner.
Today, Pakistan’s policies by and large are decided by the influential army and its generals. They have just been working for the welfare of the Muslim majority. (ANI)