Displaced Sikhs from Orakzai Agency and now in Peshawar -1

Orakzai Agency
Focus on Orakzai Agency

  06/27/2009: Peshawar, Pakistan: Peshawar falls under the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area), bordering Afghanistan, and is one of the 6 frontiers in FATA, and is the capital of North West Frontier Provice (NWFP).  
The Internally Displaced Sikhs don’t stay in the Bhai Joga Singh Peshawar Gurdwara, which is located in a town called as Dabgarhi in Peshawar. There are 2 Khalsa schools that cater around 600+ Sikh children.

99% of Sikhs from Peshawar are Amrtidhari Sikhs. Their family model is that of an extended family and the average family size is of 8 members. Most of the Sikhs are businessmen, as clothe merchants or grocery store owners. Every evening they get together at the Gurdwara Saheb for daily prayers and are there from 7:00pm – 10:30pm. 


Sikhs in Bhai Joga Singh Gurdwara

Sikhs in Bhai Joga Singh Gurdwara

 The people are in state of shock with the coming of the Taliban and the way their lives have been disturbed. Their primary need is for funds so that they can rebuild their lives. Some of them don’t want to go back to their regions in fear of the Taliban, thinking that they will come back after the ongoing war by hiding now in the mountains.

After meeting Kalyan Singh, a soft spoken, elderly Sikh around 60+ years, I realized that he is the one who was kidnapped by the Taliban from the Orakzai Agency. His son, Herdiyal Singh, a certified accounting technician,  spoke at length and gave his inside account of how this took place.

Orkazai Agency is situated in the middle of all Agencies. There is one tribe in upper Orkazai Agency which is called Feroz Khel Tribe. Herdiyal Singh, said, ” Some Taliban came from South Wazirstan and increased their strength day by day. They occupied the whole place of Feroz Khel .One day the Taliban called the Sikh community of Feroz Khel to come to their center for negotiation. They took my Father Kalyan Singh to a room as a leader of Sikh community. The other Sikh community was waiting outside but he did not come out. On asking why my father is not coming out of the room, the response was that he couldn’t come out until you will not accept our demands.”

 There were 3 demands placed before the Sikh community  placed three demands before the Sikh community.
1. Accept Islam, 2. Jehad (Fight) with us, 3. Islamic Tax

 Herdiyal said, “We rejected all the demands, but then the Taliban said that they will carry by father to South Wazirastan and kill him there. We had no choice. We accepted the third one. I don’t want my father to undergo Ziba”

I said to them that this is not what the Guru Saheb has taught us. The response I received was that you have to bein out shoe to understand this. The fact whether if they accepted choice 2 and whether equal opportunity would be given was met with a laughter by all. I realized that the laughter synergized the Sikh sentiment of Chardi Kala.

Herdiyal, added, “During at this time they hostaged my father for sixteen days. They demanded 5 Crore rupees, but the Sikh Community was not able to pay this much amount. We also negotiated with local people to reduce this amount. At last the Sikhs agreed to pay 1 Crore and twenty lakh rupees by compulsion.  At first installment we paid 60 lack rupees and they released my father on bill. We collected this amount from Sikhs of Peshawar and paid to Taliban. The other remaining amount we were not able to pay to Taliban. So at night we received a message from some source to leave this place, the Taliban will attack on your houses. We left our houses with whatever luggage we could get at 2 AM.  In the morning they destroyed our house and shop and auctioned all the items in our shop and in our house, which is worth Rs.33 lakh rupees (approximately $41,250). After that we appealed to the government to compensate our losses but still government has not given any financial aid. My education is also effected by this situation. I am not able to continue my education further more. Now I am working in Zareef Khan Foundation funded by AusAID, Australian High Commission and UNESCO, as a volunteer. My designation is Adminstration and as a Finance assistant in this NGO.”
Herdiyal said, “We appeal to the Khalsa Panth globally to assist the Sikhs for rehabilitation. The money given by the Peshawar Sikhs is a loan that we have to return back. We request you to rehabilitate us in the region of Panja Saheb. The details for rehabilitation have been discussed with the UNITED SIKHS members.”

Sundeep Singh
Camp UNITED SIKHS in Islamabad
SikhAid Program Coordinator


  1. […] My education is also effected by this situation. I am not able to continue my education further more. Now I am working in Zareef Khan Foundation funded by AusAID, Australian High Commission and UNESCO, as a volunteer. …Next Page […]

  2. johnny says:

    Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!