WSO Condemns Brutal Beheading of Sikh in Pakistan

Ottawa – February 22, 2010: The World Sikh Organization (WSO) condemns the brutal murder of a Sikh in the North West of Pakistan on Sunday by the Taliban. Jaspal Singh, who had been abducted several weeks ago along with several other Sikhs, was beheaded after his family was unable to pay the ransom demanded for his release. At least two other Sikhs remain in the captivity of the Taliban. It has been reported that Taliban militants in the tribal belt and in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, have begun imposing Islamic tax or "jiziya" on non-Muslims living in a Muslim-dominated area. In May 2009, hundreds of Sikhs were driven from their homes and several Sikh houses were razed by the Taliban after the community refused to pay the jiziya.

WSO’s International President, Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal said today, “the barbaric kidnapping and murder of Sikhs by the Taliban must be stopped. The Pakistan government must ensure the safety of minority communities in Pakistan. Sikhs have lived peacefully in the tribal areas and North-West Frontier Province for hundreds of years. The Taliban should not be allowed to drive out law-abiding citizens, no matter what their religious affiliation.”

WSO’s Senior Policy Analyst, Gian Singh Sandhu said, “the situation of the Sikh community in North West Pakistan has gone from bad to worse. After initially being forced by the Taliban to pay the jiziya, and being driven from their homes, Sikhs are now being brutally murdered. The situation is no better for people of many other faiths. There is no room in this world for religious intolerance, and the Pakistan government has a duty to act now.”

Founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, Sikhism is a tolerant religion that recognizes a universal God and supports the right of all to freely practice their faith.

The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is a non-profit international organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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