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Former PTI Lawmaker Seeks Political Asylum In India

Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Baldev Kumar has accused the Imran Khan-led government of mistreating minorities, due to which he is looking to get political asylum in India.

Kumar is in India on a three-month visa for the medical treatment of his 12-year-old daughter who suffers from Thalassemia. Talking at a press conference held in Khanna, India, the former lawmaker alleged that Pakistan was not a safe country for minorities.

“Even Muslims are not safe there, let alone Sikhs and other religious minorities,” he said.

Replying to a query regarding the PTI government, he said, “I agree that my party is in power but the ‘new Pakistan’ promised by Imran Khan is worst when compared to its older version.”

Further, Kumar accused the PTI government of “playing politics” on the Kartarpur corridor issue.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, in a video statement, rejected the former lawmaker’s allegations regarding mistreatment of minorities under the Imran Khan-led government. His allegations are baseless and false, he added.

“Baldev Kumar is on trial here for the murder of our member of provincial assembly (MPA) Suran Singh. Although, he was acquitted by the court but the family of the victim has still been accusing him of murder. After the incident, Kumar’s party membership was suspended,” Yousafzai said. He is not a part of PTI anymore, he added.

Kumar, who originally belongs to Barikot area of Swat, was arrested in the murder case of Soran Singh, the then special advisor to the chief minister, on April 22, 2016. Kumar became an MPA on a reserved seat for minorities but was expelled by PTI after members of the provincial assembly did not allow him to take oath.

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He was acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in Buner in April 2018, after which he took oath in May of the same year.

Meanwhile, commenting on Kumar’s bid to seek asylum in India, Yousafzai said, “He can go to India a 100 times and live where ever he wants. PTI has no room for criminals.”

He said, “All minorities living in Pakistan enjoy complete freedom in all aspects of their lives, including religious freedom.”

He further said that Kumar’s application seeking asylum in India is a matter between him and the Indian government, and the PTI has nothing to do with it. “I completely reject his allegations about the mistreatment of minorities here,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kumar’s brother, namely Tilak, held a press conference in Swat to counter his brother’s claim in connection with the mistreatment of minorities. “Pakistan has given us immense respect and we are ready to sacrifice our lives for this country,” he said. There is no threat to minorities living in Pakistan, he added.

Tilak further said that he and his family have been trying to get in touch with Kumar, but have failed to establish any contact. He also said that he suspected that his brother was pressurised to issue the controversial statement.

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