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Man arrested for murder of Sikh rights activist in Pakistan; police say suspect part of group involved in extortion

Peshawar: The alleged murderer of Charanjit Singh, a renowned Pakistani Sikh religious leader and rights activist, was arrested on Thursday by counter-terrorism officials, who said he was killed for failing to pay extortion money, media reports said.

Singh, 52, was killed on 29 May when a lone gunman barged into his grocery store on the outskirts of Peshawar and shot him dead. According to a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), an operation was conducted in the Ghalla Mandi area of Peshawar and the alleged killer, identified as Sheheryar Sultan, was arrested.

 Man arrested for murder of Sikh rights activist in Pakistan; police say suspect part of group involved in extortion

Representational image. AP

The arrest came a day after the caretaker chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, ordered an investigation into the killing of the Sikh leader, Dawn newspaper reported. The CTD said that the alleged target killer was caught by a special team of the department tasked with the investigation of the case.

An investigating officer told The Express Tribune newspaper that Singh was killed for failing to pay extortion. "The suspect is part of a criminal group involved in extortion," the officer said, adding that they have also found evidence of Singh previously paying extortion money.

Singh was a scholar and activist promoting interfaith harmony in Muslim-majority Pakistan. Singh had migrated to the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in the early 1970's for business and hailed from the Sadda region of Kurram district. Singh lived in Mohalla Bar, inside the walled city and ran his store on Scheme Chowk together with his brother. Two of his other brothers are traditional physicians.

The murder caused panic among the minority community as several Sikhs have been killed in different parts of the city in the past. Most of the Sikhs residing in Peshawar are those whose families previously resided in different parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) but shifted to Peshawar and started a business.

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 19:25:35 IST

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