Islamabad: The Pakistan government is
committed to provide security to the life, property and
religious places of minorities living in the country,
Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said Monday.
The Pakistan People`s Party-led government is taking
several steps to "uplift and empower the marginalized
minorities," Bhatti said during a meeting with a Sikh
delegation from the northwestern city of Peshawar.
The Minorities Affairs Ministry has taken many steps
to resolve problems of minorities on priority and more steps
will be taken for the betterment of Sikhs, he said.
The government is providing all necessary facilities
to Sikh pilgrims and renovating and maintaining gurdwaras, he
Bhatti presented a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to Piyara
Singh, the father of a Sikh who was murdered after being
kidnapped a few months ago.
The delegation, led by Sardar Ram Singh, highlighted
problems faced by Sikh in the northwest.
The minister appreciated the contribution of Sikhs
to Pakistan and assured them of the government?s full support
in resolving their problems.
Pakistan is a holy land for different faiths,
especially the spiritual and religious leaders of the Sikh
community, he added.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining tribal
belt have a sizeable Sikh population.
In recent years, Taliban militants have imposed
`jiziya` or religious tax on the Sikhs, forcing many of them
to flee their homes.
Several Sikhs have been kidnapped for ransom by the