CRIME: Organization asking for protection of minorities in Pakistan

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Rajvinder Gill, 41, has been missing since August after travelling to Lahore, Pakistan. Her family, who lives in B.C., has been frantically searching for her. A suspect has since confessed in Pakistani court to killing her. Submitted photo

After two Sikhs — including a Canadian — were brutally murdered in Pakistan, UNITED SIKHS is calling on the government to protect minority communities in the country.

Their request was released in a statement Wednesday, condemning the murders of Rajvinder Kaur Gill, a business woman from Burnaby and S. Moninder Singh, a Pakistani shopkeeper, husband and father of nine.

Although the U.N. not-for-profit advocacy organization is demanding Pakistan officials “secure the safety” of minorities and those visiting, the group warns to “please use caution if you are travelling to Pakistan and be wary of your surroundings.”

Earlier this month it was revealed that Gill, a 41-year-old banker from Burnaby was murdered while she was visiting Pakistan.

According to her family, she disappeared upon her arrival Aug. 27.

It wasn’t until Jan.1 her father found out about her death, as he sat in a Lahore courtroom and listened to a police chief recount a man’s confession about the murder.

According to local media, Hafiz Shahzad Hussain had confessed to killing Gill with his cousin Shahid Ghazanfar, a German national. Hussain told police his cousin owed Gill money and that he invited her to Lahore to attend a diamond auction. He said they picked Gill up from her hotel, spiked her tea with sedatives, and strangled her before dumping her body in a canal. Her body is yet to be found

Gill lived in Mission and Burnaby before moving to Switzerland in 2006 where she worked for Merrill Lynch and UBS and EFG Bank.

Authorities and Interpol are still looking for prime suspect, Ghazanfar, who fled to Germany.

In an unrelated incident, Singh, a shop keeper in Tabbai village, was kidnapped in November and his body was found, beheaded in Khyber Agency Jan. 7.

According to a statement released by UNITED SIKHS, a pro-government militant group, Tawheedul Islam, admit to his beheading and kidnapping, because they believed Singh was a spy.

Singh’s body was found beheaded and mutilated in a sack along with a note stating he’d been killed for spying for a rival militant group, Laskar-e-Islam.

UNITED SIKHS plans to work with officials to help find Gill’s killer and is asking Pakistan officials to pay compensation to both Gill and Singh’s families.

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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