Prominent Muslim organizations in India and the Universal Human Rights Organization (UHRO) have strongly condemned the move by the Pakistani Taliban to extort Jaziya (religious tax) from over 300 Pakistani Sikh families, who were forced to flee from that country’s Buner district, reports say. Terming the move ‘un-Islamic’ and ‘discrimination against the minority,’ the UNRO stated that they would write to the United Nations Organization (UNO) that all the member-countries be asked to provide security to minority groups.
Satnam Singh, president UHRO, said, Islamabad should be pressurized for the release of the Sikh leaders who were kidnapped by the Taliban and the Indian government should ask those persons to come back if the Pakistan government fails to do anything in this regard.
In a joint statement, a number of Muslim leaders and clerics, including members of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind, the All India Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees and All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, condemned the treatment meted out to the Sikhs in Pakistan by the Taliban, which does not constitute a sovereign government or state.
Shahi Imam of New Delhi’s Jama Masjid Habib ur-Rehman Sani Saturday, also termed the act as ‘un-Islamic’ and offered to send one of their members if the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was sending its members to Pakistan.
“We criticize the act. Sikh families have been living there for over 200 years now and Taliban is trying to vitiate the relationship between the communities by their move,” he added.
The secretary general of All India Organizations of Imams of mosques, Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, said this action would also have a negative effect on the minorities of India. “Such actions harm the interests of the Muslims in India and the entire world,” Ilyasi said.
According to one of the displaced Sikhs from Peer Baba in Buner, the Sikhs of the Orakzai agency are being persecuted by the local Taliban under the garb of ‘jiziya’, or tax that minorities pay in Islam to a Muslim state in exchange for state protection and security of life and property. The Sikhs were reportedly told either they all convert or pay the tax.