A century-old Hindu temple, Samadhi of Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj, in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan in December 2020 was burnt and demolished by the members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party after the members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decade-old building. The Hindus make up the biggest minority group in the State and the hostility was condemned by human rights activists and leaders of minority communities prompting the Court to order reconstruction of the temple.
In January 2021, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered the provincial government to arrest and recover money from those who had burnt the temple in order to teach them a lesson. It also had set up a commission to look into the case.
Most of the Hindu worship places were ill-maintained and in the state of decay was highlighted by Dr Shoaib Suddle’s One Man Commission report. The report also highlighted that the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) responsible for its upkeep had failed in doing so not only for Hindu temples but also all the holy sites of minorities.
The report had suggested an amendment to the ETPB Act for establishing a working group for the rehabilitation of the holy sites.
The commission also highlighted that the ETPB was yet to reimburse Rs 38 million for the renovation of Terri temple.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, said that the ETPB was an incompetent entity and demanded that a case of criminal negligence should be filed against the officials for not performing their duties to protect temples and other religious places of the minorities.
The head of the Hindu Council and a member of the National Assembly said that the CM had said that the area of Karak was sensitive and the task of reconstruction of the demolished temple should be done by the Hindu community for which they should be reimbursed. So far, on the government’s order 45 people had been arrested.
A statutory board is responsible for managing religious properties and shrines of minority groups of Hindus and Sikhs who migrated, following the Indo-Pak partition. It was established in 1960 under the Nehru Liaquat Pact of April 1950 and Pant Mirza Agreement of 1955. The Board was yet to officially respond to the degrading allegations made against it.
The suo moto case was heard by a 3 judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed who called it to be an act of international shame for Pakistan and ordered the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to approve Rs. 30.41 million for its reconstruction.
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