Two Sikhs, abducted by the Taliban, have been rescued by security forces in the restive Khyber tribal region in northwest Pakistan, a week after two members of the community were beheaded by the militants, a military spokesman said on Monday.
The operation was conducted in a remote area along the boundary between Khyber and Aurakzai tribal regions on the basis of a tip-off from intelligence sources, the spokesman from the Inter-Services Public Relations said.
The two abducted Sikhs — Surjeet Singh and Gurvinder Singh — are safe, the spokesman said.
“Many” militants were also killed during the operation and further details about the action would be provided soon, the spokesman said.
Surjeet Singh and Gurvinder Singh were kidnapped along with another Sikh named Jaspal Singh over a month ago in the Khyber Agency. The beheaded body of Jaspal Singh was found on February 21.
Sources said the body of another Sikh, Mahal Singh, was found on the same day in Aurakzai Agency.
However, Pakistani officials have maintained that only Jaspal Singh’s body had been found by authorities.
A sizeable number of Sikhs lived in the tribal belt, particularly Aurakzai Agency, till the Taliban imposed ’jaziya’ or religious tax on them last year. Most members of the community then fled to cities across Pakistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari had condemned the killing and directed authorities to take “stern action” against the abductors and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
Mr. Zardari has also directed authorities to rescue Robin Singh, a Hindu man who was recently abducted for ransom from Peshawar.
Local political leaders have said that Robin Singh’s abductors have demanded Rs 10 million for his release.
India had condemned the brutal killing of two Sikhs by Taliban in North-West province of Pakistan and said such “barbaric acts” will take “us back to the mediaeval times.”