DAGGAR/ PEER BABA:
The last rites of Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Minority Affairs Sardar Soran Singh were held in his native town of Pacha Kaley in Buner on Saturday. The police said they arrested four people in connection with the murder.
Singh was shot dead on Friday at his doorstep when he was returning from a funeral. In accordance to Sikh rituals, the body of Singh was cremated at the Shamshan Ghat in Pacha Kaley. The body was draped in a Pakistani flag.
The murder of Soran Singh
Hundreds of people of various faiths, mostly from Swat and Buner, attended the funeral and paid glowing tributes to the parliamentarian for his political and social activism.
Shortly before his last rites were administered, CM Pervez Khattak, Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser as well as special assistants Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, Shakil Khan, Dr Amjad and Haji Abdul Muneam Khan visited his residence to offer their condolences. The chief minister and his delegation paid tribute to the late MPA and said his death was a great loss for the people of K-P.
Malakand Circle DIG Azad Khan also visited Pacha Kaley and offered his condolences to Singh’s family. He later told the media four suspects were arrested and being interrogated. He was hopeful of positive results.
Initial investigations into the killing of Singh suggested he might have been murdered over extortion.
“We are looking into the matter, but initial investigation points out he was targeted after refusing to pay extortion,” a senior police official told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. He confirmed four suspects were arrested, including one who was taken from the vicinity of the crime scene. Police believed two of the arrested individuals were directly involved in Singh’s killing, while the others facilitated the attack. A pistol was also recovered, the official added.
Born in Peer Baba area of Buner district, Singh studied initially at local schools and ultimately graduated from Degree College Swarhi. He married an Indian national and had a son and a daughter from her. However, the couple went their separate ways later on. He married a Swat resident ten years ago and left behind a son and a daughter with her. Singh was a popular figure in the area and elected as district nazim on a Jamaat-e-Islami ticket. He ultimately joined the PTI and was a member of the party till his untimely death.
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Mourning for all
Leading figures from political parties and groups also attended the funeral. Among them were provincial ministers and leaders from different political parties.
Prominent personalities from various non-Muslim communities also came to pay their respects. Former senator and ANP leader Amarjeet Malhothra came from Swat along with members of the Hindu community. Malhothra held the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government responsible for the increasing number of target killings. He said it was high time all communities sat down to discuss ways of ensuring overall safety and security.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Baba Jee Gorpal Singh said the assassination of Sardar Soran added to the already existing sense of insecurity among non-Muslims in general and the Sikhs in particular. Sardar Charanjeet Singh, meanwhile, demanded the chief of army staff provide security and protection to the Sikh community.
K-P minister and JI leader Haji Habibur Rahman, former provincial minister and Awami National Party Buner President Mohammad Karim Babak, ANP parliamentary leader and MPA Sardar Hussain Babak, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sar Zameen Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Buner chief and MPA Mufti Fazal Ghafoor and former MPAs Qaisar Wali Khan and Haji Said Rahim Khan attended the funeral. Buner nazim Dr Obaidur Rahman and naib nazim Yousaf Ali were also present.
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Violent acts have not been reported against non-Muslims in Buner or Swat in the recent past. The period includes the time from 2005 to 2009 when the latter was under the control of the Taliban.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.
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