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Man accused of killing Pak Sikh leader next in line for his position

world Updated: Apr 27, 2016 17:24 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Pakistani Sikh leader

A policeman stands guard alongside suspects who allegedly killed Pakistani Sikh politician Soran Singh during a press conference after their arrest in Peshawar on April 25. Singh was murdered by hired assassins and not the Taliban, police said, adding they had arrested his Hindu rival who ordered the hit. (AFP)

The murder of prominent Pakistani Sikh leader Sardar Soran Singh has been a blow to the minority community but what is being seen as more tragic is the possibility that a man accused of killing him may be next in line for his official position.

Singh, who was an advisor to the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the status of provincial minister, was gunned down in Buner last week. Gunmen riding two motorbikes intercepted his car and opened fire, killing him instantly.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed the killing but the provincial police arrested four people, including one who was held near the crime scene. Police believe two of the arrested individuals were directly involved in the killing, while the others facilitated the attack. A pistol was also recovered, officials said.

Read | Pakistani Sikhs open gurdwara after 73 years, risking attacks

Police also said they have evidence linking Hindu leader Baldev Kumar, one of the arrested men, to the attack.

Like Singh, Kumar belongs to Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and is believed to have been ignored for a ticket for a reserved seat in the provincial assembly.

Ironically, Kumar is now a suspended legislator but is in line to take Singh’s seat in the assembly as he is second in priority in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s list of minority candidates.

Read | Pak Taliban claim killing of minority minister Sardar Soran Singh

The Sikh community has demanded that the provincial government should choose another member of community to replace Singh in the assembly as this will soften the blow of losing a dedicated leader.

Singh was a popular member of the Sikh community. He was born in Pir Baba area of Buner district and studied in local schools before graduating from the Degree College Swarhi. He married an Indian national and had a son and a daughter. The couple went their separate ways and he then married a resident of Swat ten years ago. From this marriage too, he had a son and a daughter.