LAHORE: A Sikh ranger participated in the traditional beating retreat ceremony at Wagah border for the first time ever, reports IndiaTV.
People from both sides of the border welcomed the Sikh ranger, Amarjeet Singh, with a huge round of applause when he came for the ceremony. The surroundings filled with the sound of claps when he shook hands with the Indian ranger. Amarjeet is a resident of Nankana Sahib. He is said to be the first person ever from the Sikh community to join the Pakistan Army. Reports say that Amarjeet joined the army in 2005 and completed training this year, after which he was included in the defence forces on the Wagah border.
Talking about his duty for Pakistan, Amarjeet said that he was proud of being a part of the Pakistan army and would be happy to lay down his life for the nation.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2016
LAHORE, Dec 19: Harcharan Singh, 19, of the Nankana Sahib, is the first Pakistani Sikh in the country’s 58-year history who has been commissioned in the Pakistan Army as an officer.
The minorities in Pakistan are allowed to sit in all examinations, including the one conducted by Inter Services Selection Board (ISSB), but neither a Hindu nor a Sikh could get selected for the army service since the country’s inception. However, many Christians served in the army.
Harcharan was skeptical this year while appearing in the ISSB’s preliminary tests, thinking that such examinations were not meant for them (Sikhs) as he could not get through the initial phase last year.
“This year, I got through the preliminary phase and appeared in the ISSB examination. However, I was mentally prepared to take admission in BA (Architecture) in the National College of Arts”.
“It was the happiest moment of my life when I came to know about my selection in the army. I am privileged to have this honour which none of my predecessors could ever achieve,” Harcharan told Dawn.
Harcharan, who passed his FSc (pre-engineering) in 2004 with 726 marks, wants the government to open the doors for his community to the law enforcing agencies as well.
Harcharan passed his matriculation from the Government Gurunank High School, Nankana Sahib, with 677 marks. He says that his school should be equipped with modern laboratory and competent teaching staff.
He says when his fellow Sikhs in Nankana Sahib learnt about his selection in the army they really felt proud of him. It has also changed their perception. Now they believe that young Sikhs have a fair chance to join the country’s most prestigious institutions. Having a younger brother and three elder sisters, he wants his brother to follow suit. He says after the death of his father, a shopkeeper, some seven years ago, the credit of their education goes to his mother. “My mother wants me to earn a good name for the country.”
He says that his family migrated to the Northern Areas at the time of partition and in 1970s shifted to Nankana Sahib.
Curtsey:DAWN.COM,DEC 20, 2005
Capt. Hercharn Singh,first Sikh Commissioned Officer in Pakistan Army,May 7, 2013 Photo Curtsey:Defence.pk
Capt. Hercharn Singh,first Sikh Commissioned Officer in Pakistan Army,May 7, 2013
Harcharan Singh-1st Sikh Soldier in Pakistan Army
Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar (L), 25, a Sikh soldier with the Scots Guards, performs guarding duties outside Buckingham Palace in London. — AP
The head of the British Army is considering plans to put together a Sikh regiment, The Telegraph quoted a British minister as saying. British Minister Mark Francois told Commons that the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) Sir Nick Carter is reviewing the likelihood of forming a new unit that would inherit many of the “proud traditions of Sikh regiments” from the British Army’s past. Thousands of Sikh soldiers served in the British Army in the 19th century and in both of the world wars while 10 soldiers serving in the Sikh regiment even wore the esteemed Victoria Crosses.
The proposal to create a unit solely on racial backgrounds is not a novelty. A recent attempt was done away with by UK’s Ministry of Defence amid risks that the move might be considered racist.
A Conservative former defence minister Sir Nicholas Soames, while speaking at a session of the House of Commons, urged ministers to forgo needless political correctness and voiced his support for the creation of a Sikh regiment. Soames sees the possibility of a Sikh unit as a measure to “make up a very serious gap in our Armed Forces”. Responding to his assertions, Mr Francois, minister for the Armed Forces, said: "We have passed this possibility onto the CGS, who is now looking at this issue and we are awaiting his comments.
"But the idea may well have merit."
Another Conservative Rory Stewart suggested the production of a Sikh company within the reserves as a constructive starting point before the actual formation of a Sikh regiment.
The latest numbers show the British Armed Forces have around 160 Sikhs in their ranks, including 130 in the Army. Lord Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, said the possibility of a debut Sikh unit was something “that would be nice if it happened”.
“There aren’t that many Sikhs in the Army. A regiment needs a bit more. There needs to be some enticement to go, but with all the defence cuts, the Army may not look that tempting,” he added.
Curtsey:DAWN.COM,FEB 24, 2015
KARACHI: The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) at a recent meeting with representatives of the Sikh community agreed to allot a piece of land for a gurdwara in Karachi, it emerged on Monday.
According to ETPB chairman Siddiqul Farooq, three areas — Clifton, Cantonment and Saddar — are being considered for a Sikh temple. “The Sikh community showed their interest in having a gurdwara in Clifton saying that would be accessible to the community living there,” he said. However another plot, which was earlier being considered for the construction of the temple, has partly been encroached.
Although the ETPB chairman refused to tell the location of the plot, he did confirm that “discussions over that plot could not go as planned, that’s why we are considering other areas as per the request of the Sikh community”.
After having discussed it for the past one year, both parties agreed upon Clifton or Saddar for the probable construction site. The suggestion by the ETPB came almost a year after discussions were held in December 2014.
At the meeting, the ETPB announced that the federal government had approved a 600-square-yard plot for a gurdwara in Karachi. The announcement had come at a time when tensions were running high between the Hindu and the Sikh communities over alleged desecration of the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib at gurdwaras attached with the Hindu temples.
The cases were reported in Shikarpur, Sukkur, Sanghar and Badin among other districts and the dispute between the two communities persists. As a result, at a recent meeting with the two communities held by the ETPB in Karachi, the main demand of the communities was the protection of religious sites and temples.
Karachi has three functioning gurdwaras for the 2,500-strong Sikh community — in Narayan Pura Compound in Ranchhore Line, Gulshan-i-Maymar, and Manora, according to the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council Sardar Ramesh Singh.
Besides, there are three more temples that have a disputed status at the moment. They include a gurdwara on Preedy Street near Ramchand Temple Road, but part of it is allegedly encroached upon by the Nabi Bagh Government College.
Another one is in Aram Bagh, which is a disputed property between the Hindu and Sikh communities and a court case in this matter has been pending since 1993.
“We have learned about the presence of another gurdwara in Keamari near the shrine of Ghayab Shah,” said Mr Singh. “It has been in that area for a long time. But our knowledge about the gurdwara is limited to a newspaper report that someone showed to us recently. It has been reported that the property is currently under encroachment by the ETPB itself,” he added.
The ETPB chairman said he had no knowledge of the gurdwara in Keamari or encroachment by ETPB officials.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2015
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