PESHAWAR: A Sikh student of International Relations at Peshawar University, Inderjeet Singh intends to become a diplomat and represent Pakistan as religiously harmonious, a local media outlet reported on Sunday.
Inderjeet’s father Samandar Singh explained that Pakistan is to Sikhs what Makkah is to Muslims as Pakistan is the land of Sikh Gurus. Inderjeet’s ancestors moved to Peshawar from Khyber Agency and his father has a mobile phone business established in a bazaar where most other businesses are run by the Sikh community. Inderjeet highlighted how no Sikh had obtained higher education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) till now as most preferred to engage in commerce rather than pursue education.
“The Sikhs are an integral part of Pashtun society, respected by all and sundry. I’m yet to come across such a case [apprehensions over curriculum],” said Inderjeet’s teacher Minhas Marwat.
However, while Inderjeet’s experience has been positive, many other Sikh’s have alleged that they face harassment at educational institutes. Santokh Singh, who dropped out of university said that he did so because a professor kept trying to convert him to Islam after he scored good grades in an Islamiat examination.
Gurpal Singh, who runs a school for Sikh students in Peshawar said that harassment and discrimination are among some of the reasons why Sikhs pursue commerce instead of education. In addition, he said that out of 1200 Peshawar-based Sikh families, 550 had shifted to Punjab due to limited access to educational facilities in the tribal areas.
Gurpal lauded Inderjeet for becoming the first Sikh to obtain a degree in KP and expressed confidence that there would be more to come.