Baldev Kumar, a former lawmaker from Pakistan has asked for political asylum in India, on Tuesday. He was a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) and cited that Hindu and Sikh leaders are being persecuted there.
Baldev 43, former MLA from Pakistan’s Barikot reserved seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is presently in India on a three-month visa.
Kumar and his family are staying with their relatives in India. A few months before he arrived in India on August 12, Baldev Kumar sent his wife Bhavana and their two children to his in-laws place in Ludhiana’s Khanna town.
He said he was forced to move his family out of Pakistan as religious minorities were being persecuted in the country.
“I came here with my full conscious mind. I am requesting (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi saab to grant me asylum and provide me security,” he said.
Kumar further said, he won’t go back to Pakistan and will formally seek political asylum in India as he fears for his family’s safety as he realised Pakistan was no longer safe for minorities after the daughter of a Sikh priest was forcibly converted in Nankana Sahib province.
He said he expected Imran Khan to fulfill his promises made to the minorities, but he too changed after winning the elections.
Accoring to him, “Minorities in Pakistan are not feeling secure and they have been denied rights. There is an increase in atrocities and target killings. I was put behind bars for two years.”
Baldev Kumar said he was falsely accused in the 2016 murder of Sardar Soran Singh, also a lawmaker from Tehreek-e-Insaf party who was elected to the provincial assembly on a minority seat, was shot dead in April 2016 in Buner district of the province. Soon after Singh’s murder, Baldev Kumar was declared as the MPA-elect, but later arrested on charges of his murder. Kumar was acquitted in the case due to lack of evidence.
Kumar’s wife Bhavana is still an Indian citizen.