CHANDIGARH: Baldev Kumar, a former Pakistan lawmaker from Prime Minister Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party, has reached Punjab in India along with his family members and is seeking political asylum, officials said on Tuesday.
The former legislator from Barikot reserved seat in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa province had come to India along with his wife and two children on a three-month tourist visa on August 12. They are currently staying in a two-room rented accommodation in the town of Khanna.
Kumar says he does not want to go back to Pakistan as religious minorities are being targeted and persecuted by state and non-state agencies. "I won't go back to Pakistan. I am requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant me asylum and provide me security," he said.
"Minorities in Pakistan are not feeling secure and have been denied their rights. Many Sikh and Hindu families want to immigrate to India as they are not respected. There are many cases of forcible conversion. The Indian government should announce a package so that Hindu and Sikh families staying in Pakistan can come here. I urge PM Modi to do something for them," he said.
He claimed that atrocities against minorities in Pakistan had increased ever since Article 370 was abrogated by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir.
People had hope that the situation would improve and a new Pakistan would be built when Imran Khan came to power but he is being dictated to by the Pakistani Army and ISI, said Kumar.
Kumar who was married in 2007 to Bhawana of Khanna is now back in his wife’s ancestral town. Bhawana is an Indian citizen and they have two children, 11-year-old Riya and 10-year-old Som, who are both Pakistani citizens. Riya is undergoing treatment as she is suffering from thalassemia. "I do not want to go back to Pakistan," she says.
Kumar added that he was falsely accused in a murder in Pakistan in 2016 soon after becoming an MLA. He was later arrested and remained in jail for two years before being acquitted last year due to lack of evidence.