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”.
Sad to know about the brutal murder of Hakeem Satnam Singh ji at Peshawar, Pakistan. Such a brutal attack against a minority community in Pakistan cannot be tolerated. Urge the @MEAIndia to take up the issue at the highest level & ensure Justice. https://t.co/OqSxBmYlHg
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) October 1, 2021
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.
A well-known Sikh ‘hakeem’ (Unani medicine practitioner), Satnam Singh, has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside his clinic in Peshawar, Pakistan.
He had been living in the city for the past 20 years. This isn’t the first killing of a known Sikh face in Peshawar. pic.twitter.com/vuhjrChoqp
— Jas Oberoi | ਜੱਸ ਓਬਰੌਏ (@iJasOberoi) September 30, 2021
A Sikh man was murdered a few hours ago today!
Sardar Satnam Singh was a renowned medical practitioner based in Peshawar, Pakistan, where multiple assailants broke into his clinic and shot him point blank. Out of spite for his dharma.
— Rashmi Samant (@RashmiDVS) September 30, 2021
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.
ISIS-K claimed responsibility of killing a Sikh Community member in Faqirabad, Peshawar, Pakistan. Police on Thursday confirm killing of a Sikh (Hakim) Satnam Singh in Peshawar city in his clinic by unknown attackers. ISKP claiming attacks both in Pakistan & Afghanistan !! pic.twitter.com/wbnXPCcpdw
— Saleem Mehsud (@SaleemMehsud) September 30, 2021
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”.