First ever Sikh TV anchor from Pakistan makes news

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Amritsar, June 28: At a time when minorities in Pakistan are increasingly being targeted by Islamists, an Urdu channel based in Lahore has hired a turbaned Sikh, as a news anchor.

Hailing from Chakesa town in Shangla district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah province, 28-year-old Harmeet Singh, who is equally proficient in Pashto, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi and English, says he wants to make his family and community members in Pakistan proud.

With a Masters in Journalism from Urdu University, Karachi, he already has a flair for writing and has had a year’s experience in reporting with an Islamabad-based channel. Not just his turban, his flamboyant personality and sonorous voice helped him get the job of an anchor.

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“I was in Malaysia doing business when I got a call from the ‘Public News’ management, offering me the job of newscaster. It was a dream come true. I immediately accepted the offer,” he told The Tribune over the phone. A Sehajdhari Sikh, Harmeet Singh has now begun to grow his hair and sport a turban, which he says “enhances my personality and makes me feel special as it makes me stand apart from the rest”.

Harmeet Singh’s maternal uncles live in New Delhi. He has not visited them for quite a while owing to visa restrictions. “I have not had the chance to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. I want visa norms eased. I will then visit the Golden Temple with my wife and son,” he says.

Pointing out that not just in Pakistan but minorities across the globe face discrimination, he claims that things in Pakistan have begun to change with up to 10 per cent reservation in jobs for the Sikhs.

He, however, admits that more needs to be done. “I would want the Pakistan government to introduce Gurmukhi in the school curriculum,” he adds.

Source Tribune India