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IS-K behind killing of Sikh hakeem in Peshawar. Amarinder Singh calls it ‘brutal murder’

Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh condemned Satnam Singh’s murder in Peshawar and asked India’s MEA to intervene.

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New Delhi: A Sikh ‘hakeem’ Satnam Singh— Unani medicine practitioner — was shot four times and killed instantly by unidentified assailants at his clinic in Pakistan’s Peshawar Thursday.

This murder has caught the attention of India. Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted to the Ministry of External Affairs Friday morning, and urged it to intervene “at the highest level and ensure justice”.

Indians are outraged over the attack, and questioned the continued targeting of Sikhs and other minority communities in Pakistan. Islamic State-Khorasan Province has claimed responsibility for the killing of Satnam Singh.

Also read: What are saroops — holy Sikh scriptures flown in from Kabul, carried by Hardeep Puri on his head

IS-K takes responsibility

The hakeem, Sardar Satnam Singh, wasn’t an unknown face — he’s well known in Pakistan’s Sikh community. He ran the Dharmandar Pharmacy on Charsadda Road in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and had been living in Peshawar for the past 20 years.

Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K), an Afghanistan-based extremist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the same day. This group has been flexing its muscle since the Taliban took control of Kabul on 15 August this year and the Americans packed up and left. This group also claimed to be behind the suicide bomber attack at Kabul airport on 26 August, which killed 170 Afghans and 13 US military personnel. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa borders Afghanistan.

Also read: Pakistan has a new divide-and-rule strategy for Taliban. It’s called ISIS-K

Attacks against Sikhs in Pakistan

Sikhs and Sikh leaders have often found themselves at the other end of the barrel of a gun in the Pakistan province that houses a sizeable Sikh population. Over 15,000 Sikhs live in Peshawar alone, mostly in the Jogan Shah neighbourhood, according to a report by Outlook.

In 2016, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Soren Singh was shot dead, while a prominent Sikh leader, Charanjit Singh, met the same fate in 2018. Ravinder Singh, brother of Pakistan’s first Sikh TV anchor Harmeet Singh, was killed in a similar fashion in 2020. He was killed a day after there was outrage in Pakistan over the attack at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib. Back then Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that the attack was “against his vision and will find zero tolerance and protection from the government including police and judiciary”.

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