Islamabad: Following an assault by unidentified assailants, and citing threats to his life, a Sikh politician from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has left his ancestral city Peshawar and moved to Lahore.
Radesh Singh Tony was the only minority politician in the province to have contested last year’s election — from Peshawar’s PK-75 constituency as an independent candidate.
Previously, he contested local government elections for a minority general councillor seat and was elected with an overwhelming majority.
He won the seat by a huge margin, securing 1,499 votes against his rival who bagged only 280 votes.
However, he resigned from his seat after he decided to contest the last general election for an Assembly seat.
In the election for the provincial Assembly seat, however, he could not garner many votes yet his popularity was on the rise.
This Sikh devotee says he is now living in Lahore because he came under attack in Peshawar and his rising popularity is considered a threat to extremists.
“I have been receiving threatening phone calls, and recently I was thrashed by a group of young men,” the Sikh minority leader said.
Singh Tony had stopped using his social media accounts after the incident, and kept a low profile, but he reappeared on Saturday on his twitter account and gave the reasons why he all of a sudden had stopped using his account.
In his own words, “Some 15 days back a group of unknown youngsters came to me and, cautioning me of serious consequences, slapped me in the face twice. They had asked me not to use my twitter account or be so vocal on any social media [platform].”
According to Radesh Singh the incident scared him to the extent that he stopped posting on social media.
“Now [after the incident] I am picking up courage and using twitter account once again as life and death both are in the hands of God,” further writes Singh.
Radesh Singh has also commented on the law and order situation under the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government saying “Pakistan is in wrong hands and only God can rescue it.”
Being a minority rights and human rights activist, Radesh Singh has been target of extremists and has received threats several times.
After Radesh Singh’s posts, a number of social media users have jumped in to express solidarity with him and has asked him not to leave his city. However, some of them have counselled him to keep a low profile and abstain from using twitter for some time.
Some of them have asked him to take up the matter with the authorities.
Radesh Singh’s incident has surfaced at a time when recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan has challenged his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi regarding government’s measures for minorities. “We shall show Modi how minorities should be treated,” had boasted Imran Khan in his Christmas message.