Punjab News Sikhs not on ‘Taliban hit list’


Prime VIP
Amritsar, June 30

While Pakistani security agencies have beefed up the security of Pakistan-based Sikh shrines on the basis of intelligence inputs that Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan could turn out to be potential soft targets for terrorists, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) chief Sham Singh has asserted that Sikhs are not on the hit list of the Taliban or any radical group.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone, the PSGPC chief said: “We cannot appreciate activities of any militant group. At the same time, we can easily make it out that Sikhs have never been the target of the Taliban or any other radical outfit allegedly operating in Pakistan. No Sikh has ever been harmed by radicals here so far. I must clear the air that there is no animosity between the Taliban and Sikhs here.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Government has installed CCTV cameras in many Sikh shrines, including the Lahore-based mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whose 171th death anniversary was observed in Lahore yeaterday.

“Besides the CCTV cameras, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s mausoleum has got new gates and a new look with a fresh brickwork,” said Sham Singh.

Intriguingly, not even a single Sikh from any other country, except India, reportedly turned out at the mausoleum to pay homage to Maharaja Ranjit Singh this time. Pakistani Sikhs too preferred to stay away from the anniversary function.

Only about 140 Sikhs were part of the SGPC-organised jatha which returned to India via the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost today after paying obeisance at Sikh shrines here.

“Sikhs from Peshawar and other parts did not come under apprehension that they might not get Indian visas if they laud the role of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the political reshaping of the subcontinent,” alleged the PSGPC chief.

Amarjit Singh Bhalaipur, leader of the SGPC jatha, said though the security was tightened by Pakistani agencies this time, Sikh pilgrims did not face any problem on this account. He said the jatha members were satisfied over the quality of ongoing repair work at various Sikh shrines.