LAHORE - Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq has said Mastan Singh, the former president of Sikh Sangat Pakistan (SSP), is trying to blackmail him like his predecessor.

Addressing a press conference at his office yesterday, the ETPB head alleged that Mastan Singh also blackmailed former chairman and received Rs2 million. “Now he is blackmailing me and demanding Rs2.9 million,” Mr Farooq told the media.

Carrying placards and banners against the ETPB chairman, scores of Sangat supporters staged a demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly.

Farooq’s press conference came a day after Mastan Singh along with scores of others from Sikh Sangat Pakistan (SSP) held a protest demonstration in front of Punjab Assembly, demanded Siddiqul Farooq’s dismissal for his alleged involvement in corruption and victimization of the board employees.

Talking to The Nation SSP President Mastan Singh said that the ETPB chairman and his accomplices should step down for selling Gurdwara lands to their favorites. He demanded the arrest of all the officials involved in the scam.

On Thursday, Siddiq-ul-Farooq claimed that in the year 2010 Mastan filed a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan and alleged that the former chairman had caused harm to the ETPB and Sikh Gurdwaras. But quite after some time after receiving Rs2m from the former chairman, submitted another application with Supreme Court while disowning his previous application.

“If I pay Rs2.9m to Mastan Singh and his fellows, they will take out rallies and chant slogans in my favour,” Mr Siddiq stated.

He drew the attention of Commissioner and DCO Lahore to get the Lahore High Court decision implemented, blocking the protestors “who hinder traffic on The Mall everyday”.

“I have no personal differences against Mastan,” said Mr Farooq, adding that a case was under proceeding in court against Mastan on the charges of ransacking Gurdwaras.

The ETPB chairman also hurled graft charged to Mastan Singh, saying he was involved in embezzlement of Rs0.5 million from donations during his tenure of President PSGPC.

During the Wednesday’s demonstration, Mastan Singh had claimed that Siddiqul Farooq was involved in the sale of Gurdwara lands to his blue eyed peoples. He demanded the arrest of such officers who were involved in illegal sale of Gurdwara lands.

Mr Singh was of the view that the chairman had started doing business on the land of Gurdwaras land. He believed that committee formed on Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) was being used against Sikh community.

Mastan Singh said that land of Gurdwaras was being grabbed in Nankana Sahib but Siddiqul Farooq was unmoved on the issue. He claimed that Sardar Sham Singh has no recognition in the Sikh community but he was being made president of PSGPC due to unknown reasons.