|Peshawar, Pakistan: June 4, 2009. (PCP report) After threats to destroy homes of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians in Khyber Agency by militant group named Lashker-e-Islam|
|led by commander Mangal Bagh, the non-Muslims agreed to pay “Jizia” a protection Tax. The demand of protection tax by LeI was made in May 2009, and elders of Tribal area of Khyber Agency met in “Jirga” for couple of time to resolve issue but Mangal Bagh insisted that “Jizia” is compulsory for non-Muslims to reside in Islamic Area of Agency.|
The Khyber Agency is tribal belt area bordering Afghanistan and famous for Khyber Pass which is centuries old passage connecting Peshawar and Kabul. The same route is being used by NATO forces supply line from Peshawar which is attacked by LeI continuously.
There are more than 200 hundred Christian families living in Landi Kotal town only which is head quarter of political agent of government of Pakistan to keep writ of state in Khyber agency. The Christians of Landi Kotal have also agreed to pay “Jizia” to militants.
The mass immigration of Sikhs from Orakzai agency of FATA after demand of protection tax “Jizia” by militants in months of April-May 2009, attracted world attention after protests by India. The Pakistani Prime Minister in a comment said “We shall take care of our Sikhs and India is not suppose to worry”
The Christians, Sikhs and Hindus living in Bara, Karamna, Chora, Zakhakhel. Landi Kotal and Tirah have started paying “Jizia” or protection tax from June 1, 2009, and those who are unable to pay are ordered to leave Khyber Agency by June 15, 2009.
The threats by militants of Laskhar-e-Islam LeI to non-Muslims have stirred unrest among minorities in Pakistan.
The Christians and Sikhs living in Khyber Agency from century are not treated as permanent residents of area and have to seek special permission from Tribal Elders Jirga to built any new home in area.
The minority ministry of Pakistan is failed to resolve issue of residency or domicile certificate with Pakistan government to enable non-Muslim in FATA to enjoy rights as tribal inhabitants.
According to PCP sources, Rupee one thousand per head in any family of Christian, Hindu and Sikh is imposed by Lashkar-e-Islam militants. This annual protection tax “Jizia” on every head of non-Muslims is apart from business protection tax which shall amount fro 25, 000 Rupees to 50,000 Rupees a month.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC have urged government of Pakistan to take notice of collection of Jizia from Christians, Sikhs and Hindus in Khyber Agency.
“The Khyber Agency jurisdiction starts from out skirts of Peshawar City and imposition of protection tax or Jizia on minorities is serious threat to safety and security” Said Nazir Bhatti
Nazir Bhatti also demanded government of Pakistan for urgent directives of issuance of domicile certificates to non-Muslims as proof or permanent resident like other areas of Pakistan.