In light of recent threats faced by the Sikh community in Pakistan, the plight of this minority group has once again come into the spotlight. Former jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, in a recent statement, articulated the longstanding persecution faced by Sikhs in Pakistan, emphasizing that this is not a recent phenomenon but a persistent pattern of victimization. Following a chilling threat letter that ordered the Sikh community to convert to Islam or face deadly consequences, Singh underscored the urgent need for the Pakistani government to intervene and shield its vulnerable minority communities.
Sadly, the Sikhs of Pakistan have perennially lived under the looming shadows of fear, subjected to recurrent persecution and targeting. Below, we delve into a series of recent atrocities, that show the persecution of Sikhs is not an isolated incident, but an emerging pattern, casting light on the grim realities they face.
- On 27th October 2018, in Nankana Sahib, Harinder Kaur became a victim of rape, a heinous act aimed to intimidate and suppress the Sikh community.
- 5th January 2020 marked a grim day for Sikhs in Peshawar when Ravinder Singh was ruthlessly shot dead.
- Just a month later, on 14th February 2020, another Sikh man in Punjab faced torture, a clear testament to the brutalities the community encounters.
- The persecution took a different form on 18th June 2020 in Sindh, where Reshma Kaur was forcibly converted, stripping her of her faith and identity.
- Further, on 26th July 2020, the sacred resting places of Sikhs in Lahore were desecrated when their graveyard was vandalized, a deeply distressing act for any community.
- 17th August 2021 witnessed the desecration of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore, a blatant display of disrespect for Sikh history and heritage.
- Violence returned to the streets of Peshawar on 15th February 2022 when Papinder Singh sustained gunshot injuries, and a few months later, on 19th April 2022, Mastaan Singh faced a similar fate in Nankana Sahib.
- Peshawar continued to be a hotspot for anti-Sikh violence, with Kuljeet Singh and Ranjeet Singh being brutally murdered on 15th May 2022.
- In KPK, on 20th August 2022, Deena Kaur was forcibly converted, highlighting the continued oppression faced by Sikh women in particular.
- The list of atrocities extended with the rape of Sajil Singh on 10th October 2022 in Jacobabad, Sindh, and the harassment of Harish Singh in the same region on 30th January 2023.
- The bloodshed persisted in Peshawar, with Dayal Singh being murdered on 31st March 2023, followed closely by the killing of Manmohan Singh on 25th June 2023.
- A day prior to Manmohan Singh’s murder, Tarlok Singh suffered a gunshot wound in Peshawar.
- Adding to the catalogue of abuses, Sikh women in a Gurudwara in Sukkur, Sindh, were harassed on 29th June 2023.
- Lastly, on 2nd July 2023, Amish Singh in Kandhkot, Sindh, faced harassment, marking yet another dark day for the community.
These incidents, while deeply troubling, are only a snapshot of the broader challenges faced by Sikhs in Pakistan. It is vital for the global community to recognize these infringements on human rights and pressurize the Pakistani government to instate robust protective measures, ensuring the safety and dignity of its Sikh citizens.