—Letter written to prime minister against employment of a Hindu as board chairman
LAHORE: The Sikh community living in Pakistan has voiced its concern over the reported employment of a Hindu as the chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan saying that they will not accept a Hindu as ETPB chairman, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The letter was sent to the prime minister on behalf of the entire Sikh community of Pakistan after they learnt that a minority MNA from Hindu community, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankvani, was proposing his relative to be made the chairman of ETPB.
They have requested the premier to halt the appointment; otherwise, the Sikh community would boycott Pakistan, causing adverse economic effects for the country.
According to the letter, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, the Sikh community has still not forgiven the atrocities of Hindus which the Sikhs had been facing since ages. It was mentioned that from the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev Ji by a Hindu to the sacrifices made by Sikhs during the 1947 partition, some Hindus have been playing a malicious role.
The letter cited the brutal incident of Darbar Sahib Siri Amritsar Sahib in 1984 and the brutal episodes of where the Hindus deceived Sikhs and made them migrate from Pakistan due to which the Sikhs are still living as a minority in India.
The applicants informed the prime minister that the Sikh community respects the land of Pakistan which is pious for them as most of their Gurus were either born or cremated here and most of the Janam Asthans and Gurdawaras are here in Pakistan.
They wrote that around 90 per cent of the income ETPB generates is because of the Gurdawara land which belongs to the Sikhs. Moreover, they also generate income through the Yatras and visits of the Sikhs to their holy sites in Pakistan.
The letter mentioned that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is also the representative of the Sikh community on the international level and makes all the arrangements of Yatra with the assistance of ETPB.
The Sikh community appreciated the role and efforts of ETPB for looking after the Sikh holy sites and pilgrims, but also expressed distress over the proposal of a Hindu being proposed as the chairman of the board.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee President Tara Singh confirmed the development and said, “We have no issues with the Hindu community but there are a large number of Sikh properties and holy sites here in Pakistan, therefore, we want some representation for ourselves.”
“The Supreme Court has also ordered that the chairman of ETPB should be from the minorities,” he added.
Singh said that a bill is going to be presented in the National Assembly by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankvani proposing that only a Hindu should be appointed as chairman of the board. “This is not acceptable to us,” he added.
“In the same context we have sent a letter to the incumbent ETPB chairman and PM Khan to convey our message,” he said.
Singh also said that they will be holding a press conference in which representatives from Hindu community, including Manohar Chand and Arun Kumar, will also participate, to show that the Sikhs have no issues with the Hindus.
“The board chairman, however, should be from the Sikh community,” he concluded.