A former member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) of Pakistan and minority leader, Baldev Kumar, has sought political asylum in India, citing persecution of the minorities in the country.
The political figure, who was a part of the Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and held the Barikot reserved seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, left the country with his family and is currently staying at a relative's place in Punjab on a three-month visa.
According to reports, Kumar stated that he does not want to go back to Pakistan as he felt his family was in danger due to increasing persecution of ethnic minorities in the country.
"Hindu and Sikh leaders are murdered (in Pakistan). I will formally move an application for asylum in India soon," he said.
Prior to Kumar's arrival in India on August 12, his family had already reached the country and were staying in Khanna region of Ludhiana district.
Kumar said in an interview to Aaj Tak that religious persecution in the state continues to take place, despite the assurance given by Imran Khan before elections in 2018.
The issue comes weeks after a Sikh priest's daughter was allegedly kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam through marriage with a Muslim youth at Namkana Sahib near Lahore.
Referring to the case, Kumar asked, "If religious leaders are not being respected, then who would listen to me?"
Recently, the family of the Sikh victim stated that the case was being dismissed by Pakistan against the backdrop of International Sikh convention. Kumar has said that violence against minorities in Pakistan has increased after India abrogated the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir by Article 370.
PM Khan had attempted to trigger hostility in an address at the International Sikh convention in Lahore last week. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are "victimising Muslims and Christians in India" and asserted that it will lead to "targeting Dalits and Sikhs".
The ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan have increased, with issues of minority rights, public safety and pro-Khalistan activities being tabled during talks concerning the Kartarpur Corridor project.
While Pakistan has initially stated that it intended to continue the border corridor project, the recent meeting on September 4 remained inconclusive due to Pakistan's insistence on charging pilgrims a service fee and denial of access to consular officials inside the Gurdwara premises.