Pakistan: Sikhs resent no separate boxes in census forms

Posted In: News Date:Mar 19th, 2017

AMRITSAR: Sikhs in Pakistan are resentful of their government for not counting them as a separate religious minority in the nation's first census being held in 19 years even as for the first time transsexual people are being counted separately. Sikh Committee of Pakistan chairman Radesh Singh Tony told TOI over phone from Peshawaron Thursday that various Sikh groups had written to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to make provision in the forms printed for the census.

"For the first time, the government has made provision for separately counting of transgender people but not the Sikhs," he resented, adding that the Sikhs would be counted in 'others' category, which includes Parsis. Even the Ahmadiyyas were being counted separately during the census, he continued. He said Pakistani citizens could declare themselves as Muslims, Christians, Hindu and Ahmadiyyas or others but not as Sikhs.

The Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan is considered heretic and they were not allowed to call their places of worship as mosques and are often subjected to state persecution.

Radesh said, "Sikhs are a progressive community of Pakistan and the 2017 census forms should have a separate box for them." On being asked whether the Sikhs of Pakistan have approached the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) for its support, he said that, " You know what is PSGPC." However, he said the absence of Sikhs' identity from the census forms had given some insecurity to the community members in Pakistan.