JALANDHAR: Australia-based Sikh group has written to President Ashraf Ghani, urging him to form the Evacuee Waqf Trust Board of Sikh Gurdwaras or Afghanistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for maintenance of Sikh assets with assistance of Government of Afghanistan and Worldwide Sikh community. This action comes after the group met with the Afghanistan Ambassador for Australia, Wahidullah Waissi, in Sydney on Wednesday.
The suggestions have been made in the wake of apprehensions that a few hundred remaining Sikhs may also have to finally migrate out of Afghanistan after the recent targeted blast at them in which 19 persons, most of them Sikhs, were killed.

Ambassador Waissi, who travelled from Canberra to Sydney, held a 90 minute-long meeting with Sikh representatives at Sikh Mission Centre, Austral — a suburb of Sydney. ational Sikh Council of Australia summed up the issues discussed in a letter addressed to Ghani and sent it through the Afghanistan ambassador. “He already appeared concerned about and was very receptive to these ideas,” said one of the Sikh representatives present in the meeting.

In the letter written by the its secretary Bawa Singh Jagdev, the Council urged the Afghanistan president to maintain: note of Sikh casualties over last 30 years; statistics of current places of residence of displaced Afghan Sikhs so that they could be called upon to join in rebuilding of Afghan economy later when situation stabilises; Register of Properties left behind in Afghanistan so that Sikhs return once they feel comfortable.

The Council has argued that the Gurdwaras in Afghanistan would be a tourist attraction once peace returns. It has also urged that the issue of educational opportunity for Sikh children should be addressed according to the needs of the Sikhs there and can be advised that how we can assist Sikhs in Afghanistan in their settlement process.

The letter has also flagged the issue that Afghan Sikhs are from Mercantile Communities and important for Afghan Economy while mentioning that world renowned economist John Maynard Keynes noted in his 1913 book “Ïndian Currency and Finance” that mercantile communities sustained trade and commerce even at time of famine and trying times. “Based on his learning of Indian financial systems and Indian mercantile communities Keynes was able to pull out America from Great Recession of 1930’s. Sikhs would be an asset in recovery of economy when peace and stability returns to Afghanistan,” the letter has argued.
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