Taliban also force Sikhs after Christians to leave FATA on non-payment of “Jazia” Islamic Taxation on non-Muslims in Islamic state.
02 May 2009
Peshawar: May 1, 2009. (PCP report) More than five hundred thousand Christians in NWFP province of Pakistan are in wave of fear of life and property after recent news of Sikh community
members abduction and demands of “Jazia” a Tax Imposed on Non-Muslims living under Sharia law by Taliban of Orakzai Agency in FATA. The Orakzai Agency is one of seven tribal regions in Federally Administered Territory Area of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan which is under control of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan from months.
The recent incident happened in areas of Qasim Khel and Feroz Khel in Orakzai Agency where more than 50 Sikh families were living before independence of Pakistan. The Sikhs were running small businesses of grocery stores and whole sale outlets in Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan when thousands of Sikh community members were forced to leave on Islamic Tax on Non-Muslims during Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 1999-2000 .
In recent wave of Sharia law in Swat Valley, Malakand, Dir, and Kohistan Areas 200 Sikh families and 1000 Christian families were forced to leave on issue of Taxation “Jazia” to seek protection living in Islamic state.
In Orkzai Agency which is ruled by Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, homes of Sikhs were occupied by Taliban on failing to pay 50 million Rupees as Jazia. The Taliban kidnapped and tortured Sikh community leader Sardar Kalyan and Sikhs collected and paid 7 million but failed to pay full amount on which they were driven out of Orakzai area of FATA.
The Taliban also chalked slogans “Taliban Zindabad” “Pay Jazia” “Christians are infidel” “ Convert to Islam” on walls of Churches and homes in Taseer Town of Karachi on April 20, 2009. When Christians tried to wash Taliban graffiti’s on April 21, 2009 and peacefully protest and demanded protection by administration, Taliban gunmen attacked Tasser Town Christians and executed them. Taliban bunt down Churches, dragged women out of homes and openly tortured elders in presence of Surjani Town police officers.
The Taliban bombed Christian Schools in Swat Valley and forced thousands of Christians to convert to Islam or to pay Tax levied to Non-Muslims on which they migrated to Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan.
The Christians from Pesawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Sawabi and Charsadda districts of NWFP province have been already migrating to safer places in other areas with their relatives without any UNO or government of Pakistan assistance.
On news of Sikhs migration from FATA, the Indian government have strongly protested to Pakistan and asked to secure life and property of Sikh and Hindu religious minorities in Pakistan.
According to news agencies, India today took up with Pakistan the matter related to the treatment of minorities in that country in the wake of reports that Taliban had driven out Hindus from their homes and were demanding 'jaziya' (taxes) from them.
''On seeing reports about Sikh families in Pakistan being driven out of their homes and being subjected to Jaziya and other such impositions, the Government of India has taken up the question of treatment of minorities in Pakistan with the Government of Pakistan,'' External Afairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said here. The spokesman was responding to a question on the reported changing of jaziya by Taliban from Sikhs in Pakistan.
Reports said Taliban had expelled at least 50 Sikh families from the Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) after they failed to pay 'Jazia'. They had also demolished houses belonging to the Sikhs.
Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC commenting on issue of Sikhs and Hindus migration from FATA and Northern Areas of Pakistan appreciated stand of Indian government but expressed his disappointment on killing of Christians and mass migration of Christian families and silence of India and International forums to formally lodge protest with Pakistan.
“PCC shall write a letter to India through Indian Ambassador in USA, President of EU and President Obama to press upon Pakistan to secure life and property of millions of Christians in Pakistan before President Zardari-President Obama meeting of May 6, 2009, in White House, Washington DC” added Dr. Nazir Bhatt
Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC clarified that Pakistani Christians reserve right to invite India for their moral support according to Liaquat-Nehru Pact signed among neighboring states to protect rights of minorities in respective countries.