Killing of Sikhs sign now

Honorable Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan

Dear President Zardari:

This petition to you is a good faith effort to draw your attention to the murder of Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh, Sikh citizens of Pakistan. According to news reports, Jaspal Singh and his two companions, Gurvinder Singh and Gurjeet Singh, were kidnapped from Chora Tirah valley of Khyber agency near Peshawar for a ransom of 30 million rupees.1

On February 20, beheaded bodies of Jaspal Singh and another Sikh Mahan Singh were found in Orakzai and Khyber agency and their severed heads were delivered by the Talibans to the Bhai Joga Singh Gurudwara (a Sikh Temple).1

Writing in her column ( Rafia Zakaria says, The killing of minorities by the Taliban is not a new issue; their elimination and demands for the payment of a Jizya tax have been an ideological staple of the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan faces an existential crisis. No one knows better than you. Among the many injuries the extremists generally lumped as Taliban have inflicted on the Pakistani state and its citizens is the mayhem brought about in the name of Islam.

Islam enjoins the rights and protection of minorities. Mr. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, eloquently expounded this in his first speech to the Nation. These rights have been ignored, violated and whittled away. The insult to injury was the passage of the benign-sounding legislation in Zia regime - the convoluted, Blasphemy Law, where the principle of justice is turned on its head, the accuser simply accuses someone of insulting the Prophet or desecrating a mosque. The burden of proof is not on the accuser, but the proof of innocence falls to the accused. This has been used as a convenient instrument to brutalize the minorities.

Mr. President, you have condemned the killing, but mere condemnation does not stop the violence; meting out justice to the culprits does.

We know all of Pakistan is suffering at the hands of Taliministic ideologues. This did not happen suddenly, it came about gradually. Minorities such as Sikhs, Christians and Hindus were easy targets. The violation of their rights, liberty, and dignity was ignored by the state. Gradually the Ahmadis, the Bengalis and finally Shias and Sunnis, who do not follow the draconian interpretation of Talibanistic Islam became targets. In short, a Nation that cannot protect its citizens, especially minorities, from zealots eventually becomes unstable and everyone who disagrees with the people wielding the sword is treated with indignity and death threats.

The plight of minorities, especially in Swat and the tribal areas is precarious. Their livelihood and existence is threatened by the Talibans. Instances of forceful conversions are on the rise. It is alleged that Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh were beheaded because they could not pay the ransom and refused to convert to Islam. The fate of the other two abductees, Gurvinder Singh and Gurjeet Singh is not known.

All of us, particularly the Muslims who value the humanitarian principles of Islam are outraged by the brutal murder of Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh. We appeal to you, Mr. President, to assiduously investigate the matter and bring the culprits to justice.

We also appeal to you to:
A. Secure the release of Jaspal Singhs companions - Guruvinder Singh and Gurjeet Singh
B. Punish those who practice forceful conversions and violate minority rights.
C. Revise Pakistans blasphemy laws, so that the accuser has the burden of proof.


Universal Respect for Human Rights
Dr. Najid Hussain [email protected]
Dr. Mirza A. Beg [email protected]
Mrs. Nishrin Hussain [email protected]
Dr. Syed Amir [email protected]
Dr. Zaheer Parvez [email protected]
Dr. Aziz Khan [email protected]
Dr. Zafar Iqbal [email protected]

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