This letter was published in Daily Times on Feb 27, 2010
Sir: The brutal beheading of Jaspal Singh in Khyber Agency was a grim reminder of how the minorities are being treated in this land of the ‘pure’. Jaspal Singh was among the three Sikhs kidnapped by unidentified militants for a hefty amount of ransom.
Over the last one and a half decades of my work in the social sector, I had the privilege of engaging myself in a rather candid discourse with marginalised communities, especially minorities and women. Sikhs being a small minority in Pakistan after Hindus and Christians largely go unnoticed as the marginalised ones. Many Pakistanis do not even know that we have large Sikh communities in the northern areas and FATA.
I met some Sikh IDPs at Gurdawaara Panja Sahib a few months ago and was shocked to learn that some of them had to shave off their beards and remove their headgear due to a fear of being marked as non-Muslims by the Taliban. I sometimes really wonder how we managed to lose Jinnah’s ‘secular’ Pakistan.