The son of a former legislator from Pakistan has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not give asylum in India to a man who was named as an accused in the murder of his father, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.

Baldev Kumar, himself a former legislator from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, came to India with his wife and two children last month and has sought asylum. He is presently living in Khanna in Ludhiana district of Punjab. Kumar claimed he had left Pakistan as minorities were deprived of their rights in his country.

Kumar had been arrested in 2016 in connection with the murder of Soran Singh, the chief advisor to the province’s then-Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, and expelled from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. However, a court in Buner acquitted him in 2018. He claimed that he was “framed and implicated” in the case and Singh was “actually murdered by Islamic extremists”.

Singh’s son Ajay Singh said he hoped that Modi will not protect a murder accused booked under the anti-terrorism Act of Pakistan. He said despite Kumar’s acquittal in the case, an appeal against him is still pending in the Peshawar High Court and he had been summoned for the case on September 30. “We hope India will behave like a responsible country here,” he told The Indian Express.

However, Kumar denied this and said he had not received any summons from the High Court. “How did immigration officials grant me visa if I were still an accused,” he questioned.

“My colleague was murdered by Islamic terrorists who cannot tolerate Sikhs or Hindus living in Pakistan and I was framed,” he added. “Tehreek-e-Taliban had even announced that they murdered Soran Singh but I was arrested and kept in jail for two years.” Kumar said he will not go back to Pakistan now as his 11-year-old daughter is undergoing treatment for thalassemia in India.

“He [Kumar] is doing a drama in India to gain sympathy saying that Sikhs are being troubled here,” Ajay Singh said. “His motive is to evade the law. We believe and hope that Modi will not shield a murder accused.”

On Tuesday, a minister in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shaukat Ali Yusafzai had said Imran Khan’s party had no objection to Kumar seeking political asylum in India. He said Kumar was free to live anywhere he wanted. His party membership was reportedly suspended over alleged role in the assassination of Singh.

“I have come here to seek asylum and will request [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi Sahib to help us,” Kumar had told reporters in Khanna earlier this week. Asked why he wanted to leave Pakistan and move to India, Kumar had said: “The whole world is watching what is the situation in Pakistan now. We were expecting from [Pakistan Prime Minister Imran] Khan Sahib that when he came [to power], the fate of Pakistan will change.”

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.