By Aarti Tikoo Singh New Delhi/Islamabad, Jan 22 : The Sikh leader who deactivated his Twitter account and moved to Lahore from Peshawar after he was assaulted by “unidentified” armed men a few weeks ago, has fled Pakistan, fearing threats to his life.
Sources in Islamabad said that Radesh Singh Tony, a minority rights activist and Sikh leader along with his family from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa left Pakistan due to threats and is likely to take asylum in India.
Tony has been target of Islamist extremists and has received threats several times. He has also been critical of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and complaining about the deteriorating law and order situation in Pakistan.
Sikh community, a miniscule minority in Pakistan have been, facing severe insecurity since the recent attack on their holy shrine at Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak. One Sikh youth was also killed by unidentified men following the attack.
Radesh Singh Tony was the only minority politician from Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to have contested last year’s election as an independent candidate. He had earlier contested local government elections for a minority general councillor seat and was elected with a majority. He resigned from his seat to contest the last general election for an assembly seat. However, he lost the election.
Recently, Tony suspended his social media accounts and moved to Lahore after he received threats by Islamist extremists on phone and was assaulted by a group of young men, sources said. He attributed threats to his rising popularity as a leader in Peshawar.
The opposition leader Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) and former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar recently slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan over his criticism of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which grants citizenship to persecuted minorities of three neighbouring countries. “We should also take care of our own minorities when we criticize rights violations in other countries,” she had remarked.