Pakistan ex-lawmaker reaches India; seeks asylum

Chandigarh, September 10, 2019: A former legislator from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has sought asylum in India, saying that minorities were deprived of their basic rights in the neighbouring nation.

Baldev Kumar (43) also said the terrorism was getting support in Pakistan.

Kumar along with his wife and two children came to India last month and is presently staying at Khanna in Punjab’s Ludhiana district.

Kumar was charged with the murder of a Sikh legislator in 2016.

“I have come here to seek asylum and will request (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi Sahib to help us,” Kumar told reporters in Khanna on Tuesday.

Asked why did he leave his country and come to India, Kumar said, “The whole world is watching what is the situation in Pakistan now. We were expecting from (Pakistan PM Imran) Khan Sahib that when he came (to power), the fate of Pakistan will change,” he said.

But, Imran Khan has failed to do so, he added.

“Khan Sahib was talking about new Pakistan. But the old Pakistan was better than the new Pakistan,” he said in response to a question.

“You are watching the situation (in Pakistan) and I am also watching the same. That day our Sikh girl was kidnapped. Such things should not take place,” said Kumar.

In Pakistan’s Punjab province, a teenage Sikh girl, the daughter of a Gurdwara  granthi (priest) there, was abducted and converted to Islam at gunpoint and was married to a Muslim man, her family had alleged.

A video of the girl’s family had gone viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.

He said, “Had minorities been getting their rights in Pakistan, such situation would not have arisen.”

To a question on terrorism getting support in Pakistan, Kumar said, “Certainly, it is a reality. In Pakistan, terrorism is getting support. In our country, they do not see their own home but point fingers at others.”

“When Muslims are not secure there, how can the people like me be secure?” he said in a reply to another question.

On the issue of Kartarpur Sahib, Kumar claimed the money being donated by people from abroad for Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib was being “misused”.

“Not much is being spent on Gurdwara,” he claimed.

Kumar, who has been staying at a house in Khanna, also requested Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to help him out.

Kumar said he has received a call from one of the aides of the Punjab CM and has been assured of all help.

Kumar further said he has also requested his other family members to leave Pakistan.

Kumar said there were several families in Sindh and Nankana Sahib which told him that if he gets asylum there (in India), they too would try to leave Pakistan.

Kumar got married in 2007 to Bhavna, a resident of Khanna in Ludhiana.

“I do not want to go back to Pakistan. I want to stay here for better future of my children,” Bhavna told mediapersons.

Kumar was a former Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Barikot seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. He remained MPA for 36 hours only.

India had expressed strong concern over the incidents of forced conversion and asked the neighbouring country to take remedial action to stop such cases. — PTI

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