Amid repression of Sikhs in Pakistan, Imran Khan wishes community on 552nd Guru Nanak Jayanti
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday extended his greetings to the Sikh community across the world on the occasion of the 552nd birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, which is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurupurab.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday extended his greetings to the Sikh community across the world on the occasion of the 552nd birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, which is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurupurab. Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister said, "Wishing 552nd Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti to all Sikhs around the world. On this auspicious occasion, we welcome thousands of Sikhs to visit their religious sites in Pakistan. I reiterate my govt's commitment to continue facilitating them to perform their religious rituals."
His remarks came amid Pakistan facing criticism for repressing its minorities communities including Sikhs. There have been so many incidents reported since 2014, in which it is believed that the community might be the latest target of Pakistan's religious extremist groups, leaving its members uncertain of their future in the country. Recently on September 30, Satnam Singh, a Sikh Unani medicine practitioner was shot down inside his clinic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's Peshawar. In January last year, Ravinder Singh, who lived in Malaysia and had returned to his home in Pakistan for his wedding. He was murdered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's Mardan city, local media reported.
Sikh rights advocates claim that the population of their minority community in the country has dropped dramatically since 2002, as forced conversions and violence against Sikhs have ramped up with little to no legal protections in place, according to Daily Sikh reported. According to Pakistan's National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), only 6,146 Sikhs were claimed to be registered in Pakistan. According to a census conducted by NGO Sikh Resource and Study Centre (SRSC), about 50,000 Sikhs still live in Pakistan. Whereas, the US Department of State claims the Sikh population in Pakistan to be at 20,000.
Religious minorities remain a soft target of non-state actors and religiously inspired extremists in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the dogged persistence of state policies has failed to reboot the judicial system and rule of law. Pakistan on several occasions has promised to safeguard the interests of minority communities in the nation. However, rampant attacks on the minorities narrate a different story. (ANI)
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