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Official accused of asking Sikhs to convert

Updated December 17, 2017


PESHAWAR: Some members of the Sikh community in Hangu district have alleged that an assistant commissioner of Thall area in a meeting had asked them to convert to Islam.

In an application sent to the Hangu deputy commissioner, district councillor Fareed Chand Singh requested him to take notice of the issue and conduct an impartial inquiry into the matter as it had caused immense mental pain to them.

When contacted, Fareed Chand Singh told Dawn that their meeting was now scheduled with the Hangu deputy commissioner at his office on Sunday (today). He added that the DC had assured them that the issue would be resolved amicably and that it was based on some misunderstanding.

Meeting at Hangu DC office today to resolve the issue

The Sikh community leader said that the DC was kind enough and had told them that in the meeting their apprehensions and grievances would be addressed and the concerned officer would also offer an apology, if any of his gestures or words had hurt their sentiments.

He said that there were around 150 to 200 members of Sikh community living in Hangu. He added that some of the families resided in Thall area and several others in Hangu city.

He alleged that on Dec 15 some members of his community were having a meeting with the Thall’s assistant commissioner Yaqoob Khan. He said that they were left flabbergasted when out of the blue the AC asked them why they had not been converting to Islam as they were also sporting beard.

Mr Singh said that they were peace-loving citizens of Pakistan and enjoyed religious freedom under the Constitution. He said that there was peaceful coexistence between different communities in Hangu district and they had been sharing each other’s festivities and sorrows.

He said that they had never faced any problem on religious grounds in the area in the past as Muslims as well as members of other religious minorities continued to participate in their festivals.

In the application, a copy of which is available with Dawn, Chand Singh states that they have legal right to question any person who tries to mislead them on their religious faith.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2017