Islamabad: The Pakistani Taliban have claimed the killing of a provincial minister for minority affairs who was shot dead in a restive northwestern district.
Gunmen on motorbikes stopped Sardar Soran Singh’s car in Buner district, some 160 kilometres northeast of Peshawar on Friday evening and opened fire, killing him on the spot.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing of Singh, who was minority affairs minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
“These activities will continue until implementation of Islamic system in Pakistan,” Muhammad Khurasani, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said in an emailed statement late Friday.
Singh’s murder was widely condemned by his fellow lawmakers and rights activists. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan-Tehreek Insaf (PTI) party rules the restive northwestern province, urged his government to set up an inquiry commission.
“Shocked at murder of PTI’s KP MPA & Minorities Minister Sooran Singh. KP govt must immed set up inquiry. A great loss for all of us,” Khan tweeted.
“When will Pakistan stop targeting minorities?” Twitter user Saqeena Qasim said. Others expressed similar views. “Tragic minority SoranSingh targeted by terrorists. He was a symbol of Pakistan’s bright inclusive future — May many Soran Singhs now rise!” tweeted Meriam Sabih.
In 2011, the Pakistani Taliban shot dead a Christian minorities minister in Islamabad. Discrimination and violence against religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan, where Muslims account for more than 90 per cent of the population.