Sikhs in Pakistan seek compensation for terror losses

February 7th, 2011 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Feb 7 (IANS) Sikhs in Pakistan’s Orakzai Agency bordering Afghanistan have asked the government to compensate the community for the huge losses inflicted on them by terrorists.A group of Sikh leaders said that terrorists had burnt 26 houses, 18 shops and some factories of their community, Dawn reported Monday. The leaders included Parjeet Singh, Mahan Singh, Siren Singh and Dilbar Singh.

Sikhs were forced to pay Jazia - tax levied on non-Muslims - totalling Rs.6 million to the guerrillas. But they were still forced to leave their homes following a steep increase in militant activities.

Orakzai Agency is in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the northwest of Pakistan that bore the brunt of terror attacks.

The Pakistan Army battled the Taliban in the mountainous region, and the rebels were evicted from many areas after fierce fighting.

The majority of the displaced Sikhs have returned to their original areas but are leading a miserable life as they have lost their properties.

They have asked the government to compensate them.

Local official Riaz Mahsud said the administration had assessed the losses of Sikhs and forwarded the report to higher authorities.

India had in 2009 taken up the issue of treatment of minorities with Islamabad after the Taliban persecuted Sikhs in parts of Pakistan.

Militants had then demolished the homes of Sikhs in Orakzai region after they failed to pay Jazia. Over 35 Sikh families have lived in Ferozkhel in Orakzai Agency for decades.

The Taliban had also occupied two shops and three homes of Sikhs.

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