Nasreen Jabeen

Gurdeep Singh is the first person from the Sikh community to have been elected senator in the country’s history.

Born in Shangla district and after completing his basic education there up till Matric, he contested and won a union council election in 2005 on a minorities seat and since then has not looked back. Singh owns a shop and operates a transport business in Mingora, Swat.

He credits his wife for supporting him by canvassing women voters but adds that she does not actively take part in his campaigns as that is ‘against the Pakhtun culture’. “Both my sons aspire to enter politics but they are minors at the moment,” he added. “Punjabi language is our identity but me and my family all converse in Pashto even though our mother tongue is Hindko as that is the language spoken by the majority in Malakand Division,” he explained.

Talking about his recent victory, Singh shared that his party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — had 102 votes in the house whereas Singh received 103 — the additional vote came from Ranjeet Singh who was contesting against him. “He is a friend and was gracious enough to vote for me,” he acknowledged.

“From elections of union councils to the Senate, my Muslim brothers have always supported me and made me victorious,” he shared, adding that Pakistan is equally a home for minorities as it is for the Muslim majority. He praised the interfaith harmony practiced in the country.

The entry of a Sikh lawmaker in the Upper House of Parliament is proof that minorities are not ignored in the country, he shared, and gave the example of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor in Punjab as further evidence.

Having been elected a senator now, Singh vowed to work for the welfare of humanity regardless of religious identity.

“In my 42 years my elders have taught me to help others, be it through business or politics, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

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