PESHAWAR (Pakistan): Gunmen shot and killed a member of minority Sikh community in an attack Thursday in northwestern city of Peshawar.
The Islamic State-Khorasan has claimed responsibility for the killing of Sardar Satnam Singh a well-known Sikh Hakim or Unani medicine practitioner.
Islamic State-Khorasan, which is based in Afghanistan, has stepped up attacks in several Afghan cities since the Taliban marched into Kabul on August 15. It claimed the deadly suicide attack at Kabul airport on August 26 that killed nearly 170 Afghans and 13 US military personnel.
Sardar Satnam Singh, 45, was at his clinic when unidentified men barged into his cabin and shot him, police said. He was hit by four bullets and died instantly. The killers escaped from the scene.
In a message posted on social media late on Thursday, Islamic State-Khorasan claimed the killing of Satnam Singh.
Satnam Singh was a well-known member of the Sikh community and ran Dharmandar Pharmacy on Charsadda Road in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. He had lived in the city for the past 20 years.
Nauman Khan, a local police official said it wasn’t clear if the attack on Satnam Singh, 45, was a targeted killing. Singh, a herbalist, had been living in the city for the past 20 years and ran a small clinic selling herbal medicine.
The assailants opened fire at Singh inside the clinic, said Sardar Harpal Singh, a local community leader. He denounced the incident and demanded the arrest of those involved in the killing. The herbalist and the community leader are not related.
A brother of the victim told the local police that Satnam Singh had gone from his home in Mohallah Jogan Shah to his clinic where unknown attackers killed him. He said that he had no enmity with anyone.
Faqirabad SHO Ejaz Nabi said that they were investigating the incident. He said it was not clear at this moment whether this was a case of targeted killing or had some other motive.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in a statement issued here strongly condemned the murder of the Sikh hakeem. Mr Khan directed the city police to immediately trace and arrest those involved in the murder. He also condoled with the victim’s family and said the killers would be behind bars soon.
Satnam Singh was rushed to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial capital’s Lady Reading Hospital in an injured condition where he later succumbed to his injuries. The police further stated that the physician had arrived in Peshawar from Hassan Abdaal a day earlier.
Singh is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons. About 15,000 Sikhs live in Peshawar, mostly in the Jogan Shah neighborhood of the provincial capital. Most of the Sikh community members in Peshawar are involved in business, while some also run pharmacies.
The police is investigating the matter from different angles and possibility of terrorism is also being probed.
In 2018, Charanjit Singh, a prominent Sikh community member, was killed by unknown men in Peshawar. Similarly, news channel anchor Ravinder Singh was killed in 2020 in the city. In 2016, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf National Assembly member Soren Singh was killed in Peshawar.
According to the 2017 census, Hindus constitute the largest religious minority in Pakistan. Christians make up the second largest religious minority. The Ahmadis, Sikhs and Parsis are also among the notable religious minorities in Pakistan.