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Attack on Sikh Houses
India conveys concern to Pak
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
Concerned over reports from Pakistan that Taliban militants had demolished the houses of members of the Sikh community, India today took up the matter strongly with the neighbouring country.

“On seeing reports about Sikh families being driven out of their homes and being subject to ‘jaziya’ and other such impositions, the Government of India has taken up the question of treatment of minorities in Pakistan with the Government of Pakistan,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Pakistan High Commission sources confirmed that Janbaz Khan, first secretary in the high commission, was called to the foreign office here and asked to convey New Delhi’s concern in the matter to Islamabad.

Sources said foreign office mandarins were quite disturbed as soon as they learnt of the reports that Taliban militants had demolished 11 houses of members of the Sikh community in Pakistan’s restive Aurakzai region after they failed to pay ‘jaziya’. The Sikhs had discussed the possibility of leaving the area at a meeting of the community but were unable to arrive at a decision. India has been deeply worried over the advances being made by the Taliban in Pakistan, posing a threat to the security of this country as well. Islamabad has repeatedly been cautioned not only by New Delhi but also other world powers to meet the challenge posed by the militia head on rather than capitulating to it.

Only last month, there were reports of attacks on Christians in Karachi after pro-Taliban slogans, calling on members of the community to convert to Islam, appeared on the walls of some churches. Foreign affairs experts, meanwhile, asked the government to take up the matter with Pakistan with all the force at its command.

Veteran diplomat KC Singh recalled that even in the past when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan from 1996-2001, it was indulging in similar antics. “This is further confirmation, if any is required, of the intolerance and instability that the Taliban in Afghanistan and its Pakistani clones are propagating in the region,” said Singh, who also headed the joint anti-terror mechanism between India and Pakistan.

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