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Friday, 25 January 2013

Sikh Businessman Abducted in Peshawar Pakistan

Report by Jas Uppal of the Free Sarabjit Singh Campaign.

Fears grow for the safety and welfare of Mr Raghbir Singh a 40 year old  Sikh businessman from Peshawar who was abducted by armed men and bundled into a car as he was returning home from the Gurdwara.

This is yet another case bearing all the hallmarks of a case targeting minorities in Pakistan. Earlier this year Mr Mohinder Singh,  a Sikh man was discovered beheaded in the Khyber region of Pakistan. The Tawheedul Islam militant group claim responsibility for the murder. Despite their admission, the perpetrators continue to remain free at large and unpunished.

Attacks on minorities in Pakistan continue with impunity. The Pakistani Governments repeatedly fail to bring the perpetrators to justice. It seems that the attacks on minorities are not deemed to be a priority for the Pakistani authorities unless they are highlighted by the international community as happened in the case of Rimsha Masih, the 14 year old Pakistani Christian girl suffering from Down's syndrome who was wrongly accused and charged with blasphemy.

It was pressure from the international community including  support from the international Christian faith groups as well as the ensuing publicity which forced the Pakistani authorities to take the matter seriously and apply the rule of law which resulted in the serious charges being dropped against. I am confident that had the case not been highlighted and had the international community not intervened, Rimsha's fate would have been death.

The Hindu and Sikh community form less than two percent of Pakistan's population. Like the Pakistani Christian and Balouch communities in Pakistan, they too are subjected to daily attacks, disappearances, discrimination and murder. The Pakistani authorities fail to record or investigate these crimes let alone prosecute the perpetrators.

The international human rights agencies and politicians fail to intervene. Their intervention is long overdue. For far too long their interest is disproportionally focused on the never ending troubles in the Middle East.

Amazingly, Pakistan was granted a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council in 2012 without any regard or reference to its abysmal record in relation to human rights. European countries including the UK continue to donate considerable aid to Pakistan without examining or monitoring its human rights record.

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