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Another militant group imposes religious tax on Pak minorities

world Updated: Jun 03, 2009 14:21 IST

PTI
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Stronghold of banned militant organisations continues to grow in Pakistan as another outlawed outfit imposed "jiziya" or religious tax on the minorities of Khyber Agency.

In a meeting between Laskar-e-Islam chief Mangal Bagh and a Sikh delegation on Tuesday, the organisation decided that minorities, including Sikhs, Hindus and Christians, would pay Rs 1000 a year in return of the protection provided by them.

Although, the people have agreed to pay the tax, the women, children and the handicapped, however, are not required to do so.

In a similar case, the tribal council in Tirah valley has also decided to follow suit and pay the tax.

The minorities of Khyber Agency are distributed all over Bara, Zakhakhel Bazar and Tirah valley. They number in thousands and have avoided fleeing the area in case of non-payment of tax, unlike the Sikh families from Pakistan's Aurakzai tribal region who evacuated the region. In their case, the "jiziya" was imposed by Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud and they have now taken a shelter at the Panja Sahib Gurdwara in Hasanabdal.

Lashkar-e-Islam was banned by the federal government a year ago.

(Edited by Kavyanjali)