PESHAWAR: Minority groups in the city protested against delays in the provision of compensation packages to the family of the slain MPA Sardar Soran Singh. The protesters also urged the government fill the vacant seat in the provincial assembly by appointing an adviser to the chief minister for minorities so that they could have a representative to convey their grievances to the government through.
“If an MPA cannot be nominated due to legal issues then a coordinator or an adviser should be appointed [in place of Soran Singh] who could convey the grievances of non-Muslims to the chief minister of the province,” All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairperson Haroon Sarbdiyal said during the protest on Saturday outside Peshawar Press Club. Sarbdiyal was leading the protest that was also attended by Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and members of the civil society.
The protesters were of the view that such a huge population of minorities communities cannot be kept without a representative for such a long time.
The protesters said the government has not yet provided the compensation package to Soran Singh’s family.
“The government has announced a package of Rs10 million for his family but so far it has not been ensured to them,” Sarbdiyal said.
He added they have come to know the compensation has been reduced to Rs5.5 million which is injustice to the bereaved family who have no source of income after the killing of Soran Singh. “The K-P government have delayed and totally neglected the issue so far.”
The protesters said the delay in provision of compensation has affected the education of Soran Singh’s son. They demanded he should be admitted to a cadet college.
Moreover, he said, they also feared the financial packages announced by Soran Singh for the preservation of gurdwaras, temples, churches and for places of worship of Kalash people would never be released in the new financial year as the government has only allocation Rs90 million for minorities in the development fund.
“After the murder of Soran Singh, the voice of all the non-Muslims in the province has subdued [as he was the only voice for minorities],” he added. “He [Soran Singh] worked for minorities irrespective of their religious beliefs.”
For social security
The protesters demanded the incumbent government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provide security to the family of Soran Singh and other non-Muslims who, after the killing of the minorities’ leader, were feeling insecure in the province.
“Soran Singh was the only leader whom all the non-Muslims blindly trusted,” said Charanjeet Singh, a Sikh elder who was also present at the protest. He asked the government to fill the minorities’ seat at the earliest or at least appoint a coordinator or an adviser to the chief minister so that their grievances could be addressed in the Parliament.
Soran Singh, who was the special assistant to K-P CM on Minority Affairs was shot dead by armed attackers in his village in Buner in April, however, the government has so far failed to nominate another representative of non-Muslims in the K-P assembly due to legal complications.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2016.