Ex-PTI lawmaker Baldev Kumar seeks asylum in India


–Murder accused says Pakistan treating minorities badly

–Kumar’s family says no truth in Baldev’s allegations of mistreatment of Sikhs in KP


PESHAWAR: Baldev Kumar, a former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has applied for political asylum in India, alleging that “even Muslims are not secure in Pakistan”.

Kumar is accused of killing fellow PTI MPA Sardar Soran Singh and was detained in 2016 for the murder.

Though an anti-terrorism court (ATC) acquitted Baldev Kumar in Soran Singh murder case in 2018 for lack of evidence, a plea against the verdict was later filed in a local Swat court.

He was summoned to appear on Sept 30.

Talking to media personnel in Ludhiana, India, on Tuesday, Baldev Kumar claimed: “Minorities in Pakistan face a variety of problems. Not only non-Muslims but even Muslims are insecure,” he told ANI. He added that he would not “go back to Pakistan in any case and asked India to provide him asylum”.

The Indian media is giving extensive coverage to the issue in order to portray that minorities are not safe in Pakistan.

However, Baldev’s family in Buner has repudiated threats to Baldev or his family.

His family members said that the former lawmaker had cut off relationship with the family after his release in Soran Singh murder case. He was moving between Islamabad and Peshawar and had no contact with his brothers in the village.

“Our relationship with Baldev has come to an after he was accused of killing Soran Singh,” his brother Tilak Kumar told Pakistan Today.

“We have information that Baldev Kumar and his wife reached India four months ago along with their children,” he claimed.

Talking about the allegation of threats, Tilak Kumar said he is not aware of threats faced by Baldev in Pakistan. “Neither his family nor other religious minorities have ever been threatened or harassed by anyone in Buner.”

One of his brothers, Amarnath Singh is an employee of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Department while Tilak himself is an active PTI member and was also a union council member of its local government.

Tilak said that Baldev Kumar’s daughter was suffering from thalassemia and he had gone to India with his family for her treatment. He said he was very disappointed to hear that Baldev had applied for asylum there.

KP Information Minister Shaukat Yusufzai said Baldev’s party membership was terminated after he was accused of killing Sardar Soran Singh.

“Baldev has nothing to do with PTI,” he claimed.