Sikhs-The Pride of Pakistan!
Pakistan for many years has been known to be a Muslim dominated nation whose population is not known for its tolerance. However living alongside this overwhelming Muslim majority are Sikhs, some of the most patriotic citizens of the country. Estimates on the population of Sikhs in the country vary greatly as some estimates claim there are 50,000 sikhs in the country while others put the figure well above 300,000. In recent years due to wise leadership, remembering the vision of Mohammed Ali Jinnah who saw Pakistan as a tolerant nation, Sikhs have had the opportunity to prove themselves as extremely loyal citizens of Pakistan. Many Sikhs have chosen to explore the fields of homeopathy and medicine becoming doctors, pharmacists and hakims. The medical field is famous among Sikhs in Pakistan. The passing of the Sikh marriage act in November 2007 brought good tidings for the Sikh community as the way forward.
The first greatest breakthrough for the Sikh community came when Harcharan Singh, 19 years old hailing from Sri Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, was inducted in the Pakistani army as a cadet in 2005. Today he is an officer in the army willing to die to bring honour to his nation.
‘After meeting the Prime Minister upon his arrival at the academy during the passing out, Harcharan Singh said while talking to the media that he is proud of being a Pakistani and in the Pakistan Army. While expressing his extreme excitement on being a part of this dignified institution, he said that the Sikh youth settled in Pakistan should have joined this institution a long time ago. Regarding his future plan, he said with great zeal that being a Sikh, it is my burning desire to embrace Martyrdom. He told that initially his mother was little reluctant upon his induction in the Pak army as he is her eldest son but now his presence in the Pak Army brings her the greatest honour and pride. He told his fellow cadets once, “It is my great ambition to be a martyr while defending the mother-land”.’ (http://www.ispr.gov.pk/success-stories/sikh-cadet/sikh-cadet.htm)
Harcharan Singh was last quoted as saying “With the passage of time, I will prove that we (Sikhs) are more loyal than our Muslim brothers. I thank the Pakistan army that I have been given this chance.” He has not only been successful in proving his extreme patriotism but has also brought immense honour to the nation as the first Sikh soldier of Pakistan. All of Pakistan is proud of him.
Gulab Singh is another Sikh who is in government service today. He was born in Nankana district in January 1982 the same place as Harcharan Singh and is the first Sikh Sub-Traffic inspector to be appointed in the Punjab traffic police. He has often revealed his pleasure for being accepted for the post and said “I will do my duty honestly, work like a true and dutiful citizen, and dream of a corruption-free atmosphere.” He has been slowing traffic in Lahore as he has become a sort of celebrity on the streets where people often wish to greet him.
Dr. Mahipal Singh is a doctor working for the government. He says he is proud to be the first Pakistani Sikh doctor in government service and has regularly displayed his satisfaction. He is working for education programs to be implemented among Sikhs so that the Sikhs who are living in poverty can move forward. He is well respected and is highly esteemed often referred as a good docter.
Kalyan Singh is the Sikh Province Assembly Member. He represents the Sikh community in Pakistan and is seen by the Sikh community as a delegate. He seeks to empower Sikhs and help more Sikhs get jobs in the government. He is also campaigning for a Sikh regiment in the army, however it is still to be known if there will be enough Sikh cadets for a regiment to be formed.
Sikhs in Pakistan are loyal to Pakistan and have no love for India and as Sikhs are being empowered they are getting the chance to prove this. When asked what he thought about Pakistan a somewhat annoyed Gobind Singh, an owner of a homeopathic institute in Lahore said “We are very proud to be Pakistanis, Pakistan is our homeland and we will live and die with it. We are not Indians and should not be seen as Indians either, that is the way to minorities completely integrating themselves in Pakistan as Pakistanis. We should not be treated with suspicion”.
Another Sikh, Kuljeet Singh when questioned about Khalistan movement (a movement that is of great importance among Sikhs in Pakistan) said that every Pakistani should campaign for a free Khalistan no matter what faith he follows because Sikhs in India were suffering Indian cruelty just as the Kashmiris. He added “it is sad that thousands of Sikhs were brutally murdered and no justice given to them” Kuljeet Singh traces his past to 1984 when he and his family moved to Pakistan from India after losing a relative. He said “Pakistan is my country now but I believe it is our responsibility to work for an independent Khalistan as Sikhs in India have always suffered.”
This lays to waste claims made by Indians that Pakistani Sikhs see India as their home instead of Pakistan which is absolutely untrue. Though it may be true that there are many Pakistani Sikhs living abroad it is clear that they see themselves as nothing but Pakistani Sikhs.
With Sikhs slowly being accepted and recognized in Pakistani government Institutions and so many Sikhs becoming prosperous and holding powerful positions in Pakistan it is slowly becoming apparent how much they love their nation as they get the chance to represent themselves. Sikhs are proving themselves day after day as the most patriotic community in the country. Every time a Sikh is inducted in government service he has proven that he is an asset to the nation and loyal to Pakistan. Therefore the community deserves respect as an extremely patriotic community proud of their identity.