Ex-MLA of Imran Khan's party seeks asylum in India
In what is nothing short of a major embarrassment for Pakistan, a former MLA of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, has sought asylum in India. Baldev Kumar, a Hindu, told media that residents are surviving in Pakistan with "a lot of difficulties", and even Muslims aren't safe in the country. He asserted Hindus and Sikhs were being "tortured".
First off, who is Baldev Kumar?
Kumar is a former MLA from Barikot (reserved) seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. In March, he shifted his wife Bhawna Sethi and two children, including 11-year-old thalassemia affected daughter, to India. He lived in Pakistan disguised as a Sikh and was traced in Khanna, a place some 100 km away from Punjab's capital Chandigarh. He ruled out the possibility of going back to Pakistan.
Gurudwaras in bad shape, families want to flee Pakistan: Kumar
The 43-year-old claimed minorities were being persecuted in Pakistan and that several Sikh and Hindu families want to settle in India. "Gurudwaras are in bad shape. There are cases of forcible conversion and such acts should not happen. A case of forcible conversion of a Sikh girl to Islam came to light recently," Kumar, who reportedly reached India on Eid (August 11), added.
Even Muslims aren't safe in Pakistan, claimed Kumar
"The Indian government should announce a package so that the Hindu and Sikh families staying in Pakistan can come here. I want Modi Sahab to do something for them. Not only minorities but even Muslims are not safe there (Pakistan)," he went on.
Earlier, Kumar was accused of getting his party colleague murdered
To note, Kumar's name figured in the murder of his party colleague Swaran Singh, who was a member of Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and also remained its president for a brief time in 2006. In 2016, Singh was shot dead by assailants in his native village Banur. It was alleged Kumar paid $10,000 to the shooters to murder his "rival".
Further, Kumar said leaving Pakistan wasn't easy
After spending two years in jail, Kumar was acquitted in 2018. He said he had high hopes from Khan, but it went down the drain after he took office. "Rumors are being spread by the Pakistan government against me since I always raised voice against injustice," Kumar told TOI and added it was difficult for him to take the decision of leaving Pakistan.