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Sikh temple to open in Peshawar after 300 years

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sikh temple reopens, devotees to worship

March 30, 2016, PESHAWAR (Pakistan): Almost three hundred years old Sikh temple reopens. It was located in Jogiwara Street of Hashtnagri, an ancient residential area of Peshawar city, was reopened for worship on Wednesday.

The temple was reopened during a ceremony wherein Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddique-ul-Farooq was chief guest. The ceremony was also addressed by Adviser to Chief Minister on Minorities Sardar Suran Singh and leaders of Sikh community Sahib Singh and Bishan Singh.

The representatives of Sikh community, local elders and civil society members were also present on the occasion.

Mr Farooq pledged to provide Rs1million for look after of the temple while Sardar Suran Singh announced Rs 3 million for the purpose.

“Our religion Islam guarantees protection of worship places of different religions,” said Mr Farooq. He added that reopening of the temple proved that Muslims always believed in interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.

He approved crematorium for Sikh community in Hassanabdal and construction of 1,000 rooms in the living quarters in four cities across the country.

“I announce Rs3 million from provincial government and will extend full support to meet demands of the community,” Sardar Suran Singh said and added the credit for reopening of the temple went to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud, police officials and Muslims reconciliatory committee.

He said that reopening of the temple would not cause hurdle in movement of the people in the area and both Muslim and Sikhs would live peacefully. “We have assured the local residents in an agreement that they will have no problems with reopening of the worship place,” Suran Singh told Dawn.

Earlier, Sahib Singh demanded foolproof security, appointment of caretakers, reasonable maintenance funds, power generator and construction of toilets for the temple.

He said that Muslims, especially Khwaja Mohammad Akbar Sethi, Haji Ibrahim Khan, Haji Anwar Baba and Khurram Pervez, played effective role in renovation of the temple.

Although there is no authentic information about the history of the construction of the building and the date of its closure, yet Sikh elders said that it had been closed about 70 years ago when Sikh and Muslim communities developed some serious differences before partition.

According to an official source the temple was closed down before creation of Pakistan due a dispute between Sikhs and Muslims. A member of each community was killed in the dispute, he said.

A joint jirga of Muslims and Sikhs led by the deputy commissioner managed to resolve the dispute and paved way for reopening of the temple after necessary renovation.

The sources said that according to the agreement, a wall would be constructed near the temple to ensure privacy of the adjacent girls’ school. Another wall will also be constructed on the roof of the temple to ensure privacy of the local people residing in the area. The local people will not raise objections to Sikhs observing rituals in the temple in future.

Some representatives of Sikh community including Manjeet Singh, Reshpal Singh and Darshan Singh expressed pleasure over reopening of the temple and described it a good omen for the community. Credits- DAWN

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Seven Decades after Partition: Sikhs in Pakistan Struggle amid Bombings and Violence

Sikhs in Pakistan have been looking to leave Pakistan as their homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam

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Sikhs in pakistan
Types of 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force), now 3 Frontier Force, Pakistan Army. ca. 1905. Wikimedia Commons
  • In today’s period, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities
  • Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty
  • Mr. Singh heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan

Aug 15, 2017: At the age of 11, Radesh Singh’s grandfather left his village in India’s Punjab province to move to Peshawar, which is bordered by Afghanistan in the far northwest of the country.

Pakistan wasn’t even a glint in the eye of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the year 1901 when the British ruled the Indian subcontinent and Peshawar held the promise of work and adventure.

It has been 70 years since the partition of India, which divided the subcontinent into majority Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan and led to one of the largest migrations in modern history.

Singh’s family have been waging a secessionist uprising in India ever since, demanding unmitigated sovereignty for India’s Punjab state where they command. Singh’s family is neither Hindu nor Muslim but Sikh, a religious minority in both countries. Feeling increasingly less at home on either side of the border, they have been victims of local Taliban violence in the recent years in Muslim Pakistan.

Singh’s grandfather would never return to his village, not even in 1947. Singh stated that poverty kept his grandfather in Peshawar, which was controlled by fiercely independent ethnic Pashtun tribesmen. He said, “It’s not easy to start over at zero when you have very little,” mentioned BBG Direct.

ALSO READ: 10,000 members of Sikh community in Pakistan lack Education and Health: Sikh Leader 

According to Singh, the enmity in the immediate aftermath of 1947 was slightly lower in the northwest. It was followed by decades of peace. The decision to stay in Pakistan appeared like a reliable option at the time.

The Sikhs had lived harmoniously for centuries alongside their Pashtun Muslim countrymen. Singh explains, Sikhs had a glorious history in the northwest. In the 18th century, they oversaw a dynasty headed by a Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh, whose capital was Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore. He rebuilt Peshawar’s infamous Bala Hisar Fort, an imposing walled fortress that some historians assume is as old as the city itself.

In today’s period, easily identifiable because of the colorful turbans and the surname Singh, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities. As indicated by the CIA Factbook, 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people are non-Muslims which include Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus.

Singh asserted until 1984 Pakistan’s Hindus and Sikhs lived unitedly in northwest Pakistan. Their children married and worshipped together. But after the tragic assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, the entire scene changed consequently.

“They (Hindus) cut all relations with us. They said Pakistani Sikhs are like all Sikhs everywhere. No difference. They said, ‘From now on, we will be separate from you”, Singh recalled.

Today Sikhs in Pakistan are contending with the government for possession of dozens of Sikh temples (Gurdwaras); however, they have succeeded to restore some of the buildings. The Pakistan government took over the buildings after 1947 and allowed the squatters to remain.

Once a vibrant Gurdwara attended by hundreds of Sikhs, it no longer resembled a house of worship but rather a sweeping courtyard. However, it was until now that two families called it the home, said Singh.

Singh who heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan, said young Sikhs have been looking to leave as the homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam.

“They want to go to another country, not to India or Pakistan. But every country eyes them with suspicion.,” he said.

He adds, “Even Indians see his Pakistani passport and question his intentions, suggesting he wants to agitate for Sikh secessionism, the battle that resulted in Indira Gandhi’s death and a dream still held by many Sikhs on both sides of the border.”

According to Singh, Pakistan’s slide into intolerance began when Pakistan’s military dictator Zia-ul Haq set the country on the course of Islamic radicalization in the late 1970s with the former Soviet Union’s invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. Jihad became a rallying cry to defeat the communists in Afghanistan.

Extremism aggravated after the 2001 intrusion of Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition, he proclaimed.

The tribal areas were steadily caught by Taliban and in 2013 several Sikhs were killed, their limbs cut. Singh said the brutality of the killings and the threats sent thousands abandoning Pakistan.

Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty.

“That is why we have a fear in our hearts, that this law can be used against us,” he told.

“In the last nearly 40 years we have been facing the boom, boom (mimicking the sound of explosions) in every city of Pakistan,” said Singh. “In a long time we have not heard any sweet sounds in our Peshawar, but still we love our city.”


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Sikh Temple Gurudwara in Belgium closed for security reasons

Hans Bonte, Mayor of Vilvoorde town, has ordered the closure of Gurudwara

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Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS, Sept 10, 2016: Belgian authorities have ordered the closure of a Sikh gurudwara (temple) for an indefinite period citing a security threat, local media reported on Saturday.

Hans Bonte, Mayor of Vilvoorde town, has ordered the closure.

The town outside Brussels has only a dozen Sikh residents but because of the town’s central location the Vilvoorde gurudwara was well frequented, said the VRT news outlet. (IANS)

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Peshawar Army School Terrorist Attack 2014: Parents of deceased students seek Justice

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants killed around 150 people, most of them children, in the attack that drew condemnation from across the world

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peshawar attack. Image source: Wikimedia Common
  • Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants killed around 150 people, most of them children, in the attack that drew condemnation from across the world
  • According to Ajoon Khan, they were assured that a meeting with Sharif would be arranged next week
  • Islamabad’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdul Sattar Isani said steps for the grieving parents’ meeting with Sharif will be taken next week

Islamabad, Sept 04, 2016: The parents of those killed in the 2014 Peshawar Army Public School terrorist attack have planned a sit-in here to demand a judicial commission of inquiry and punishment to the officials responsible for the security of the children.

Advocate Ajoon Khan, the father of a student killed in the December 16 attack, was again planning to visit Islamabad along with other parents seeking justice for those killed. The bereaved returned disappointed on September 1 as they failed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Dawn online reported.

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants killed around 150 people, most of them children, in the attack that drew condemnation from across the world.

At least 60 family members of the killed students earlier reached Islamabad to meet Sharif, but were stopped by the district administration at the entrance of the Red Zone, Ajoon Khan told Dawn.

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“They told us that a camp was vacant in front of the National Press Club and we should shift there until a meeting is arranged with the Prime Minister the next day,” he said.

“We said we will prefer to stay in front of the Prime Minister House but were again stopped near Zero Point,” he said.

According to Khan, they were assured that a meeting with Sharif would be arranged next week. The parents will again visit to Islamabad on Thursday and hold a sit-in in front of the PM House.

Khan said that instead of taking action against those behind the attack, the government had named a school in Islamabad after his killed son Asfand Khan.

“I don’t want any compensation because it will be like selling the blood of my son. I want justice. We used to pay Rs 500 per month as a security fee for each student as we were told that army officials were providing security to our children. But no one was held responsible after the massacre,” he said.

Islamabad’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdul Sattar Isani said steps for the grieving parents’ meeting with Sharif will be taken next week. (IANS)

3 responses to “Peshawar Army School Terrorist Attack 2014: Parents of deceased students seek Justice”

  1. The Peshawar attack was a grave and disturbing incident and it is sad to see the way justice is still not met by the families who lost their children in it.

  2. Peshawar attack was disturbing in itself and the way justice is still not met by the families who lost their people in it, it seems a complete failure of the government.

  3. Sad to see that the families who suffered in the grievous terrorist attack of Peshawar have still not met with justice. It looks like a complete failure of governance.

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