Pakistani Sikh leader under threat in Lahore

Sardar Bishon Singh has always been vocal against the Pakistani government`s injustices with Sikhs.

Lahore: A prominent Pakistani Sikh leader has been under threat from unidentified persons who have been attacking his business in this eastern city for almost six months, according to a media report on Thursday.

Sardar Bishon Singh, who served as president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said, "I have been threatened with dire consequences if I do not stay silent over issues...They have threatened me with death and financial loss."

Singh has always been vocal against the government`s "injustices" with Sikhs. He has been selling imported cloth in shops across Punjab provincial capital Lahore since he moved there from the tribal areas in 1993.

Other than the threats, cloth worth Rs 7 million was looted from his shop in Azam Cloth Market, he told `The Express Tribune` newspaper.

Another shop, located in Zeenat Tower on the Model Town Link Road, was shut down by the building`s owners, he said. On September 19, Singh went to his shop in Zeenat Tower only to find that the owners had cut off power and constructed another shop, blocking the way to his shop.

"According to the tower`s map, there is no space on which the new shop can be constructed, so I have approached the court where I obtained a stay order. But when I tried to stop the construction, the owners threw me outside the tower and closed my shop," he alleged.

Police refused to cooperate with him in the case, he said. "Instead of hearing my complaint, police began inquiring if I belonged to India or Pakistan," Singh said.

"I tried to approach Malik Owais, Superintendent of Police of Model Town, but he said he had no time to entertain Sikhs as he had to deal with more pressing issues," he alleged.

Singh said he then approached Zahid Aslam Gondal, the Deputy Secretary for law and order at the Punjab Chief Minister Secretariat, but he was "not treated well".

He added: "(Punjab) Governor Latif Khosa has now asked me to come see him."

When approached, police officer Owais admitted he had ignored Singh`s complaint because he had other commitments but said he had referred the application to relevant officials.

The owner of the building, Rashid Ahmad, seemed to show no remorse over shutting down Singh`s shop and admitted he had cut off power but claimed this was done it was because Singh owed him Rs 500,000 for maintenance charges for five years.

Singh said, "If the government of Pakistan cannot protect my life and even my business in one of its safest cities, then I should be allowed to migrate from this country, which is (only) for Muslims."


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