Taliban attacks religious minorities

General May 3, 2009
The Asia Evangelical Alliance (AEA) expresses concern at the demolition of Sikh homes in Pakistan on April 29.

According to Press Trust of India, an Indian news agency, Taliban militants demolished 11 homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan's troubled Aurakzai tribal region after they failed to pay jiziya or a tax levied on non-Muslims. The houses were destroyed on the orders of Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, the head of the militants in Aurakzai Agency and a deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief, Baitullah Mehsud.

The Militant had earlier in the month set a deadline for the payment of jiziya, which the Sikh community failed to meet. Media reports vary on the amount of tax levied on the community, the amount ranging between Rs 50 million to Rs 150 million a year as jiziya.

Though the Sikhs have been living in Aurakzai for centuries, the militants claimed this was being done as Shariah or Islamic law had been enforced in the area and all non-Muslims had to pay "protection money".

AEA calls on the Pakistan Government to provide adequate protection to the minority groups within the country and to take necessary action to stop the rise of militancy in the county.

AEA also urges Christians across the globe to pray for political stability in Pakistan and for adequate and effective measures to be taken to check the rise of militancy in the region.


Rev. Dr. Richard Howell

General Secretary
Asia Evangelical Alliance
New Delhi, India