A prominent Sikh leader of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s region, Charanjeet Singh, was shot dead by unknown assailants in his shop in Peshawar on Tuesday, reports pakistantoday.com.pk.
A police official said unknown motorcyclists opened fire at him, killing him instantly. The assailants escaped unharmed.
Leaders of the Sikh community, Radesh Singh Tooni and Sardar Jitendra Singh, called the assassination an act of terror. Jitendra Singh said that Charan Jeet was not only a leader of the Sikh community, he was also very popular and respected among the Muslim community throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He was an active member of different groups engaged in creating and promoting religious harmony and used to discourage militancy and terrorism.
A large number of Sikhs assembled at Lady Reading Hospital and Jogewara Temple in Peshawar after learning of the assassination.
Belonging to Tirah Valley of far-flung Khyber Agency, Charan Jeet moved to Peshawar along with close relatives around two decades ago.
MEANWHILE, the United Sikhs organization has urged the United States and Pakistan to provide necessary security measures for the local Sikh community.
It reached out to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Peshawar Mayor Muhammad Asim Khan, the U.S. Consulate, U.S. State Department, and Commission on International Religious Freedom to discuss the “heinous violation of human rights.”
“We call upon the government to urgently implement additional security measures to protect the Sikh community, as we are in a state of shock at this horrific crime,” said United Sikhs Pakistan Coordinator Herdyal Singh, who is related to the victim. “Our International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy legal team is actively working with local authorities to ensure the perpetrators are apprehended swiftly and justice is served. We ask anyone with any information on the attack to come forward.”
A father of three (A 16-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 18 and 20), Charanjeet Singh volunteered with United Sikhs on a number of international relief efforts, including assistance programs for Pakistan’s internally displaced people. He is being remembered by the community as a beloved human rights and interfaith activist.