The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, has claimed responsibility for the killing of a well-known Sikh ‘hakeem’ in Pakistan’s restive northwestern city of Peshawar. ‘Hakeem’ Sardar Satnam Singh (Khalsa), 45, was at his clinic on Thursday when unidentified gunmen barged into his cabin and opened fire at him, police said. The killers managed to escape from the crime scene.
Singh, who practised Unani medicine, received four bullets, died instantly, police said. In a message posted on social media late on Thursday, the ISIS-K claimed the killing of Singh.
The ISIS-K, which has stepped up attacks in several Afghan cities since the Taliban seized power in Kabul on August 15, had also claimed the deadly suicide attack at Kabul airport on August 26 that killed nearly 170 Afghans and 13 US military personnel.
According to Punjab Police, Singh had arrived in Peshawar from Hassan Abdaal a day earlier.
Singh, a well-known figure in the Sikh community, was running his clinic Dharmandar Pharmacy’ on Charsadda Road in Peshawar. He had been living in the city for the past 20 years. 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.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan strongly condemned the killing of Singh and directed the police to take immediate steps to arrest the killers.
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’s 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.