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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Slain Pakistan Sikh leader’s son claims Baldev Kumar fled to India to evade conviction

Ajay Singh has claimed that Baldev Kumar, a former Pakistan legislator, conspired to kill his father Sooran Singh who was a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member of the provincial assembly.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2019 09:32 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Ajay Singh is the son of Dr Sooran Singh, the PTI member of provincial assembly, who was killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in April 2016
Ajay Singh is the son of Dr Sooran Singh, the PTI member of provincial assembly, who was killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in April 2016 (HT Photo )
         

A day after former legislator of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Baldev Kumar, sought asylum in India, Pakistan-based Ajay Singh said Kumar was the prime accused in the murder case of his (Ajay’s) father Dr Sooran Singh. Ajay said Baldev, who is staying in Khanna of Ludhiana district, fled to India to escape conviction in the case which is pending in the Peshawar high court.

52-year-old Sooran Singh, who was PTI’s member of the provincial assembly (MPA) and also the special assistant to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on minority affairs, was assassinated in Pir Baba area of Buner district of the province in April 2016. Singh’s car was ambushed by unidentified assailants near a shrine. A doctor by profession, he was elected as a member of provincial assembly (MPA) in 2013.

Ajay, who is pursuing in MBBS in Pakistan, lives with his mother Ravinder Kaur and sister Rasna Kaur (7) at Pir Baba village of Buner district. He said, “Baldev Kumar was political rival of my father in Buner constituency and wanted to be an MPA. He considered my father as hurdle in his way and wanted to eliminate him. He conspired to kill my father by hiring five target killers who killed my father. Baldev paid Rs 10 lakh (Pakistani currency) to the killers.”

While speaking to Hindustan Times over phone from Pakistan, Ajay said, “The police nabbed the killers, who spilled the beans saying Baldev was the conspirator behind the murder. He was booked for murder and arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) .”

Baldev Kumar remained in Buner jail for two years before the anti-terrorism court acquitted him and five others in the murder case on April 26, 2018. “We challenged this acquittal in Peshawar high court in June 2018. As the case is pending, Baldev fled to India where he is misguiding the people and government to secure asylum. To garner support of the Sikhs in India, he made his appearance as a Sehajdhari Sikh,” Ajay said.

“He is the killer of my father who served the humanity as a doctor throughout his life. I appeal to the Indian government not to grant him asylum. The Indian government should send him back so that he can be punished for what he did,” he said.

It may recalled that PTI MPA Arnab Jahandad had hurled a shoe at Baldev in protest against the latter’s presence in the assembly in February 2018 when the latter came to take oath.

Pakistan minister of science and technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry in a Twitter post had said, “Irony is Baldev committed a cold-blooded murder of Sooran Singh only because he was next in the line for MPA list. A group of Indians is celebrating what? A criminal only to avoid case in Pak has asked for Political asylum?”

Notably, Baldev who reached Khanna with his family, stated that minorities are being prosecuted in Pakistan and they don’t feel safe under the regime of Imran Khan, which led him to seek asylum in India.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 00:52 IST

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