Sikh, Christian die in targeted killings in Pakistan’s north-west

Assailants kill two

A Pakistani Sikh businessman and a Christian cleaner were shot dead by unknown assailants in separate incidents in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said Saturday.

Gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on Sikh shop owner Dayal Singh when he was in his grocery store and fled the scene, said police officer Haroon Rasheed. He said an investigation was underway.

Rasheed said police have found evidence from surveillance camera footage and will soon be able to identify the gunmen.

Ranveer Singh, a representative of Pakistan’s minority Sikh community, said the businessman had no problems with anyone. He said Sikhs are feeling insecure as 11 members of their community have been killed in recent years.

The minister for information and religious minorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is located, assured Sikhs the culprits will be arrested and there will be steps to protect minorities. Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel also announced compensation of 500,000 rupees for Singh’s family.

A Christian man, Kashif Maseeh, was shot dead by unknown attackers on Saturday. He was attacked while returning from his job as a cleaner for local authorities.

It was the third targeted killing in two days. Prominent Hindu doctor and eye surgeon Birbal Genani was gunned down in Karachi on Thursday. Police superintendent Zubair Tanoli said Genani received a fatal gunshot to the head.

Religious minorities often face violence in Pakistan, even though the country’s Constitution guarantees them equal rights and the freedom to practice their faith.

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