Pakistani Sikh from tribal area killed by suspected terrorists

November 25th, 2008 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Nov 25 (IANS) A Sikh faith healer from a tribal area in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan was kidnapped and killed some hours later, two days after a threatening call asking him to avoid contact with government officials, family sources said Tuesday. Zael Singh was kidnapped early Monday morning from Peshawar’s Tajabad area where he had gone to buy herbs to make medicine and his body was found from Jamrud in Khyber agency in the evening, said police and family sources.

Militants may have killed him on suspicion that he was providing information about them, a relative said.

“He received a threatening call on Friday to avoid contact with the government officials and was kidnapped from Peshawar where he went to buy some herbs to make medicines,” he told IANS requesting anonymity.

This is the first incident of any Sikh in the tribal area being killed in a suspected terrorism related incident. More than 20,000 Sikhs live in Khyber Agency, they speak Pashtu and identify themselves as Pakhtoons.

The Sikhs in the area have been living there for centuries.

“We never face any difficulty and have never been a target on the basis of religion… I can’t say if this was related to terrorism,” Balwant Singh Afridi, a leading businessman in Khyber Agency, told IANS.

In the past, he said, several people from their religion have been killed or kidnapped but the motive was personal.

“Kidnapping is not new in tribal areas but if this murder is related to terrorism we need to secure ourselves,” Balwant said.

Taliban have killed several people since their emergence in the tribal areas and bordering Afghanistan on suspicion of spying for the government agencies.

Many Sikh families moved to tribal areas from undivided Punjab when Ranjit Singh expanded his empire to Khyber in early 19th century.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |