Sikhs ready to return to Pak`s restive tribal belt

Amid reports that members of the Sikh community were reluctant to return to their homes in Pakistan`s restive Orakzai Agency.

Peshawar: Amid reports that members of
the Sikh community were reluctant to return to their homes in
Pakistan`s restive Orakzai Agency, a delegation from the
minority community today said they had asked the authorities
to make arrangements for their safe return.

The delegation of Pakistani Sikh elders from the
country`s troubled tribal belt denied a news report that 65
families of the minority community had refused to return to
their homes in Orakzai Agency though the area had been cleared
of Taliban fighters.

The Sikh elders from Feroz Khel in Orakzai Agency met
Political Agent Riaz Mehsud and denied the report.

A six-member group of Sikh leaders comprising Jaswant
Singh, Maan Singh, Ranjeet Singh, Bahadar Singh, Beeba Singh
and Naran Jeet Singh assured Mehsud of the community?s full
support in the repatriation of internally displaced persons
from Orakzai Agency.

In a joint declaration, the Sikh elders said there was
no truth in the news reports as some Sikh families from Feroz
Khel had already returned to their homes.

They declared that the reports were misleading as the
Sikhs had already requested the political authorities to make
arrangements for their safe return to their homes by the end
of this month.

Mehsud told the Sikh elders that all-out efforts will
be made for their safe return. The cooperation of tribesmen in
defeating militancy was indispensable, he said.

In addition to a month’s rations, non-food supplies
and transportation facilities will be provided to the
returning Sikh families, Mehsud said.

Some newspapers had reported that members of the Sikh
community were reluctant to return to their homes in Orakzai
Agency due to fears of being punished by the militants.

The reports claimed they had refused to return even
though the government had claimed that 95 per cent of the area
of Orakzai Agency was secure.

PTI