Saturday July 02, 2022

Two Sikh traders killed in Peshawar attack

One of the victims was killed inside the shop while the second one was targeted outside,” says CCPO

May 16, 2022
Two Sikh traders killed in Peshawar attack

PESHAWAR: Two traders belonging to the Sikh community were killed in yet another brazen incident of target killing in the Batatal area of the provincial capital, along the boundary with the Khyber district, on Sunday.

A police official said Kanwaljeet Singh, 42, and Ranjeet Singh, 38, were present at their shops selling spices in Batatal Bazaar when armed assailants opened fire at them, killing both ofmotorbike and opened fire with AK-47. One of the victims was killed inside the shop while the second one was targeted outside,” Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Ijaz Khan told reporters.

He said the attackers managed to escape into the troubled area close to Bara, Khyber tribal district. The official said investigators had collected pieces of evidence to arrest the culprits. “Those involved in the gruesome act are anti-Pakistan elements. They did not target a community but the entire state,” said Ijaz Khan. “This is an attack on Pakistan.”

He added that a search operation was underway in the area to arrest the culprits.Senior police officials, including CCPO, visited Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh Sahab in Mohallah Jogan Shah in the Dabgari locality of the city to express solidarity with the Sikh community and assured them that the killers would be arrested soon.

Relatives said that Kanwaljeet Singh was survived by a widow and three children while Ranjeet had six children. They had moved from the Bara sub-division in the Khyber district years back after the law and order situation deteriorated in the erstwhile tribal area. The local people said they were friendly and harmless citizens. The murder of the two Sikhs happened a day after the Counter-Terrorism Department conducted an operation and killed the mastermind of the Koocha Risaldar mosque suicide bombing along with a suicide bomber.

The officials said those killed were members of the group that was involved in a number of target killing incidents, including that of a priest, a Sikh hakeem, police officials and religious scholars. A Sikh hakeem Satnam Singh was killed on Charsadda Road in October last year.

Another Sikh trader was injured when a person opened fire on him in his shop near Kohat Adda. The accused was caught on the spot.Police recently said the group behind the target killings of Sikhs and others was busted.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and directed the police to arrest the killers and ensure security for minorities.

“I strongly condemn the killing of our Sikh citizens in Peshawar, KP. Pakistan belongs to all of its people. I have ordered a high-level inquiry to ascertain the facts. The killers will be arrested and meted out exemplary punishment. My most sincere sympathies to the bereaved families,” tweeted PM Shehbaz.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan also ordered immediate action to arrest the murderers. Declaring the incident a conspiracy to destabilise inter-faith harmony, the chief minister said the culprits would be brought to justice. The public and those on social media condemned the target-killing of the two, saying the Sikh community members were peaceful citizens who were never involved in any unlawful activity.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah sought a report from the KP chief secretary and inspector general of police. “The KP government has terribly failed in protecting the minorities,” Sanaullah said, indicating past incidents of violence against the Sikh citizens in KP.

He urged law enforcement agencies and the provincial government to ensure security of minorities and assured assistance from the federal government for the arrest of the culprits.

All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC) also condemned the murders. APUC’s head Tahir Ashrafi said that the Peshawar administration should ensure protection of non-Muslim citizens and arrest the murderers of Ranjeet and Kanwaljeet.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly condemned the murder of two Sikhs. In a statement issued Sunday, the HRCP said, “This is not the first time that the Sikh community in KP has been targeted. We demand that the KP police identify and arrest the perpetrators promptly. The government must make it clear that violence against religious minorities must not be tolerated.”