February 27, 2010 3:54:21 am
There is tremendous sense of insecurity among the Sikhs in Pakistan after the beheading by Taliban, said a Sikh Jatha member who returned from Pakistan on Friday. Many Sikhs have taken shelter in Gurdwaras after fleeing the areas under Taliban control and trouble-torn FATA areas.
The Sikh Jatha had to cut short its fortnight-long-pilgrims to Pakistan,to pay homage to martyrs of Nankana Sahib Massacre,to 10 days.
Arriving here on the Samjhauta Express,the Jatha members said they met families who had taken shelter in Lahore and other Gurdwaras. There were strong rumours everywhere in Pakistan that Sikhs were being converted to Islam, they said.
There were some families at Nankana Sahib Gurdwara near Lahore who told us that the situation is tense and kidnapping of Sikhs for ransom is way of life in the areas near Peshawar, said Ajit Singh,a devotee from Patiala.
Akbar Singh,another Jatha member said the security cover around them was tightened after the news of Taliban atrocities on Sikhs spread and their movements were restricted. The security provided to us was satisfactory. But there were restrictions on our movements, he said adding that they heard tales of woes from Pakistani Sikhs residing in the NWFP where the Pakistan government has little control over the tribal areas on Afghan borders.
He said the Sikh families he met at Gurdwara Panja Sahib at Hassan Abdal were in shock and uncertain about their future.
They can not even come to India as their livelihood is in Pakistan, he said.
Though the Sikhs in Pakistani Punjab are living a normal life,those in Peshawar are feeling insecure, said another pilgrim. He said the Indian government and Sikh diaspora should put pressure on Pakistan for the rehabilitation of Sikh families.
Meanwhile,the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today organised akhand path at the Golden Temple in the memory of Jaspal Singh and for the early release of other two Sikhs who have been kidnapped by Taliban.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar urged both the government of India and Pakistan to assure the safety of the Sikhs living in Pakistan. Makkar said though providing security to its citizen was an internal matter of Pakistan,Sikhs were being prosecuted and they have to speak out for the security of their community members.
Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Paramjit Singh Sarna had also met External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Thursday in Delhi,urging him to take up the security issue of Sikhs with the Pakistan government.
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