Peshawar: A human rights activist and Sikh community leader Charanjeet Singh was shot dead by bike-borne assailants in Peshawar in broad daylight on Tuesday.
Singh, who had shifted to Peshawar with his family nearly two decades ago, was a highly respectable figure in the region. He was known for promoting religious harmony and discouraging violence.
Although the exact motive behind the incident is still unknown, community and local political leaders suspect the hand of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) hand in the attack.
In the run-up to the upcoming general election, which is scheduled for July 25, the political atmosphere of the country is getting increasingly turbulent. While the Pakistan Army and the ISI have been covertly supporting the extremism, a few players are contesting to bring a more liberal government in Islamabad.
Various religious representatives in the past have accused Pakistan government of turning a blind eye to the discrimination and atrocities being meted out to the minorities in the country. Despite having a separate ministry for the minorities, Islamabad establishment has failed to alleviate minorities’ pain and sufferings.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s internal affairs policies, by and large, are decided by influential army generals, who mainly work for the welfare of the Muslims of Punjab province. About 60,000 Sikhs live in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including 15,000 in Peshawar alone, who have time and again raised the issue of discrimination.