Daring Afghan Sikh leader killed in suicide bomb attack – Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan shocked
Samangan, Afghanistan, July 17 (YP Bureau)
Sardar Pritpal Singh Pal, an Afghan Sikh leader was on 14th of July killed in a suicide attack which claimed the lives of 23 people and left 60 injured. The news of his death has shocked the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan.
A Taliban suicide bomber struck a wedding party of the daughter of Afghan MP Ahmad Khan Samangani on Saturday, 14th of July, at a Marriage Hall in Aybak, the capital of Samangan province of Northern Afghanistan.The MP was among the 23 killed.
Sardar Pritpal Singh, a devout Sikh, a known Social activist, an outspoken community leader and a political aspirant had fought last general elections to parliament of Afghanistan.
Pritpal Singh Pal ran as an Independent candidate from the Kabul province for a seat in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga, the 250-seat Lower House of Parliament, in the 2010 elections.
Before taking part in the elections two years ago, Pritpal Singh Pal was in the Afghan Army under the rule of Najibullah, 22 years ago. He retired after a leg and eye injury and went on to become a unani doctor.
Pal had once said, “It was a misconception that all Afghan Sikhs and Hindus are Punjabis who moved to Afghanistan from India years ago. In fact, many members of this community consider themselves to be the original Afghans who never converted to Islam. And this sense of rootedness only gives their pursuit of governmental representation in Afghanistan more zeal”.
Pal who ran a Greaco-Arabic medicine shop (Unani Dawakhana) established by his father who moved from Paktia to Kabul was frustrated with the current Afghan government and as he entered the electoral field he said, “I’m running for parliament for the service of all of Afghanistan.”
“I want to serve people regardless of religion. I’m an Afghan,” said, the then 46-year-old Pal during an interview with the media. He was a native of the Pashtun-majority province of Paktia where his parents were born.
Pritpal Singh Pal worked tirelessly for the Afghan Sikh and Hindu Community and worked closely with the current government of Afghanistan. His tragic death is being considered as a severe blow to the already troubled minority community of Afghanistan.
It has been reported that he was close to many of the Afghan leaders disliked by the Taliban.
It was also reported during 2010 Afghanistan Elections that there were 50,000 Sikh families in Afghanistan in the 90s. Following Taliban rule, the Gurudwara and Masjid committee estimated that there were only 1200 Sikhs and about a 100 Hindus in Kabul (in 2010).