LAHORE - A group of Sikhs from Nankana Sahib have demanded the resignation of Evacuee Trust Property Board’s chairman Siddiqul Farooq, who belongs to the ruling party, PML-N.

They allege Mr Farooq, with the help of land grabbers, illegally sold hundreds of canal land belonged to Gurdwara Janam Asthan for a housing scheme.

After staging a protest near Punjab Assembly yesterday, dozens of Sikhs gathered outside a courtroom of Lahore High Court to show solidarity with Sardar Mastan Singh, the Sikh leader who faces a trial for ‘anti-state activities’.

An LHC division bench on Tuesday accepted the bail petition of Mr Singh, the former president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).

In his petition, Mastan pleaded that Sardar Sham Singh, who is sitting president of the committee, had got a case of registered against him on baseless grounds.

“Siddiqul Farooq and Sham Singh joined hands with land mafia and illegally sold hundreds of kanals of land belonged to Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib for a housing scheme,” his counsel Anwar Zahid told the court.

Requesting bail for the accused, the defense lawyer further alleged that Sham Singh at the behest of Mr Siddiqul Farooq implicated his client and his associates in a fabricated case only to curb their voice against the illegal sale.

On the other hand, Sham Singh’s counsel Tariq Bashir Awan argued that investigation of the case had been transferred to anti terrorism department. He pointed out that the investigation was underway; therefore, the bail of the accused should not be accepted.

A law officer also pleaded the court not to accept Mastan Singh’s bail, saying that there were serious allegations of terrorism against him and the investigation was being done. After hearing both sides, the bench headed by Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu accepted the bail against one million rupees surety bonds. The bench held that the prosecution, apparently, would have no benefit of keeping the accused in jail.

Following the court’s decision, the supporters of Mastan Singh chanted slogans against ETPB chairman Siddiqul Farooq and PSGPC president Sardar Sham Singh.

They appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to set their leader free and order the police to dismiss the FIRs registered against him.

On December 20, Sardar Mastan Singh was arrested with his 20 to 25 Sikh accomplices under blasphemy and other charges for allegedly being involved in desecrating temple, condemning creation of the State and advocating abolition of its sovereignty.

It was the eve of main ceremony to mark the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in Nankana Sahib district.

An FIR No 900/15 was registered on the application of Sardar Sham Singh - the sitting Paradhan (chairman) of the PSGPC - a body dealing with affairs of Sikh pilgrims arrival to Pakistan in collaboration with the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).