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S Asia Sikhs Ready To Return To Pak's Restive Tribal Belt

Chaan Pardesi

Oct 4, 2008
London & Kuala Lumpur
Published: Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010, 18:34 IST
Place: Peshawar | Agency: PTI

Amid reports that members of the Sikh community were reluctant to return to their homes in Pakistan's restive Orakzai Agency, a delegation from the minority community today said they had asked the authorities to make arrangements for their safe return.
The delegation of Pakistani Sikh elders from the country's troubled tribal belt denied a news report that 65 families of the minority community had refused to return to their homes in Orakzai agency though the area had been cleared of Taliban fighters.
The Sikh elders from Feroz Khel in Orakzai Agency met Political Agent Riaz Mehsud and denied the report.
A six-member group of Sikh leaders comprising Jaswant Singh, Maan Singh, Ranjeet Singh, Bahadar Singh, Beeba Singh and Naran Jeet Singh assured Mehsud of the community’s full support in the repatriation of internally displaced persons from Orakzai Agency.
In a joint declaration, the Sikh elders said there was no truth in the news reports as some Sikh families from Feroz Khel had already returned to their homes.
They declared that the reports were misleading as the Sikhs had already requested the political authorities to make arrangements for their safe return to their homes by the end of this month.
Mehsud told the Sikh elders that all-out efforts will be made for their safe return. The cooperation of tribesmen in defeating militancy was indispensable, he said.
In addition to a month’s rations, non-food supplies and transportation facilities will be provided to the returning Sikh families, Mehsud said.
Some newspapers had reported that members of the Sikh community were reluctant to return to their homes in Orakzai Agency due to fears of being punished by the militants.
The reports claimed they had refused to return even though the government had claimed that 95% of the area of Orakzai Agency was secure.


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