Minority representation: Sikh assembly aspirant lays bare his plans

Published: May 20, 2013
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File photo of the KP assembly. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

File photo of the KP assembly. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf nominee for minority seat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly, Dr Suran Singh, promises to work for religious freedom and harmony in the province.

Singh, 59, a practitioner of alternative medicine, belongs to Bacha Kalay, a village in Pir Baba, District Buner. Sikhs living in the area have been forced to migrate due to deteriorating security conditions. Singh had also left his hometown along with his six family members during military operation in the valley.

“I will work for maintenance of religious harmony and peace not just in my hometown but in the entire province,” Singh told The Express Tribune on Saturday. “My efforts will be channelled to achieve freedom to practise religion for all religious minorities.”

According to Singh, Sikhs who earlier served as minority members of K-P Assembly have failed to represent interests of his community and those of other minorities. He also believes they were not true followers of Sikhism as they would not wear the turban and did not have beards.

After remaining a member of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for nine years, Singh had joined PTI two years back. While being part of JI, he had served as a member of Tehsil council, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbankhak committee and Evacuee Trust Property Board.

In PTI, Singh was elected secretary of party’s minorities wing via intra-party elections.

Singh was also awarded gold medal by Pakistan Sikh community for his initiative in Malakand division to assist flood and war affectees.

While talking about his plans if elected as a minority member in the assembly he said, “My first priority will be to restore harmony among different religious and ethnic groups of society and to restore peace in the scenic valleys of Malakand division and K-P.”

He said he will face the existing problems with courage and discipline, traits for which his community received praise even by international organisations.

“We are Pakistani and Pakhtuns first and Sikhs later,” he added

The Sikh and other minorities face several problems such as lack of religious institutions, funerary grounds and general freedom to practise religious beliefs, Singh said.

He also believes there is a need to work on education system, pointing out that it is one of the basic components of his party’s manifesto.

Charanjeet Singh, a resident of Suran Singh’s village, described Suran as an active member of the village who attends socials gathering irrespective of religious or other differences.

However, a Sikh community member in Peshawar said that they did not know much about Suran Singh, yet hoped he will represent the community in good light in the assembly.

Suran Singh is also associated with Khyber News and has been hosting a programme ‘Za hum Pakistanay ym’ for the last three and a half years.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • ss
    May 20, 2013 - 10:12AM

    Best of Luck, hope PTI doesn’t disappoint you and whole nation :)

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  • bilal
    May 20, 2013 - 11:55AM

    Naya Pakistan our Pakistan

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  • Saman
    May 20, 2013 - 3:30PM

    Best of luck! So happy to see such representation.

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  • Jas Singh
    May 21, 2013 - 2:54PM

    Thanks to Imran Khan for appointing a Sikh for provinicial assembly. I had hoped Imran Khan’s win as he is not there for personal gains. Unfortunately like all devoloping countries Paople of Pakistan are divided on ethnic grounds but still he has shaken the conscious of Pakistan. I like Mr. Suran Singh’s views except where he said, he is Pakistani first and Sikh second. That is unwanted because actions need to heavier than words. When one leaves a country, most people will get citizenship of another country but would not leave their religion and by saying this will others believe him? This I think is linked with satisfying others, which is probably need of Pakistani society but in an ideal world, this does not matter. One should be honest, people oriented, fair, loyal and progressive. I hope great almighty will bless him with Khidmat of humanity and impartial views.

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  • Arshad Khan
    Jun 2, 2013 - 12:53PM

    The coming of the Sikh member is a good omen for the KP province. I wish him and the minority community my best wishes. Let them help us all build a new Pakistan where we all would pass by each other with a smile on the face and no malice in the heart.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jun 13, 2013 - 6:01AM

    @Jas Singh: I think you are a bit critical of him, I am from Mardan but now Pakistani American but I am Pukhtun like him and proud of it. Just because he is proud to be a Pukhtun does not mean he has left his religion or being ashamed of it. I think PTI did the right thing to send him to KP assembly, he will prove to be an assets for the minority community as well as to the KP province. I wish him the best of luck and hopefully he will be an example of austerity for the rest of KP assembly members.

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