Peshawar, Sikh community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has over 1,000 members which is deprived of basic facilities including health and education. There are only two gurdwaras (worship places) for Peshawar’s Sikh community. Chairman of Pakistan Sikh community Radesh Singh Tony told, “Plazas have been constructed in place of some gurdwaras. The ones not sold have been taken over by the land grabbing mafia.”
“The community does not have a cremation ground (shamshan ghat) to perform the last rites of the deceased,” added Tony. In case of a death, the community has to make cremation arrangements in Attock, which costs around PKR 65,000 per person.
Members of the Sikh community had to relocate to Peshawar’s MuhallaJogan Shah and Saddar Bazaar vicinities after the law and order situation posed threats to its security. Children were pulled out of schools due to safety concerns.
“We are renting property to create makeshift schools. It is difficult to bear the expenses. We request the government to provide us with a building and funds for education,” said school headmaster and provincial youth assembly minister Baba Jugerpaal Singh.
Despite the tough living conditions, the Sikh community remains positive that its issues will be resolved by the government.
“The Prime Minister is taking a lot of interest in resolving minority issues. Lately, quite a few bills against forced conversion have been presented in the assemblies,” MNA Asfan Yar Bhandara said during his visit to a gurdwara.source The Nation.