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Islamabad to have first Hindu temple after partition

Islamabad National

Islamabad to have first Hindu temple after partition

TP 2 weeks ago
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Islamabad (TP) June 24, 2020: Pakistani authorities laid the foundation stone for the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad.

It is seen a major development in a Muslim-majority country where religious minorities often face persecution with intermittent vandalization of their places of worships by religious bigots.

The Krishna temple will be built on a four-canal of land in H-9 sector of Islamabad, which will have the first temple after partition in 1947.  Since a relatively small number of Hindus live in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and surrounding areas, this new temple will only welcome them once it is built with donations and government funding.

Last year, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government announced to reconstruct, renovate and reopen all temples and shrines across Pakistan to promote religious tourism. In 2017, the Capital Development Authority sanctioned the land to the Hindu community for the construction of the temple and crematorium.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Krishna temple in Islamabad’s  H-9 sector was held under the aegis of Hindu Panchayat Islamabad and led by PTI minority member of National Assembly Lal Malhi, who appealed to the federal government to apportion money for the early completion of work on the temple.

Prior to the partition, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs used to live with religious harmony in Islamabad and Rawalpindi but Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India, abandoning behind temples, gurudwaras and shrines only to be destroyed, grabbed and demolished by their Muslim compatriots.

There exist a small but abandoned temple and a Sikh gurudwara in the scenic Saidpur village of Islamabad, where no religious ritual takes place and the vestiges are open only for sight-seeing of the visitors.

Talking about the development, political scientist, historian, author and eminent writer Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed said that “A Hindu temple in Islamabad is a great step forward in rectifying a historical wrong. There is a Hindu community in Rawalpindi-Islamabad. The government has taken a laudable step towards healing wounds.”

Senior journalist and analyst Adnan Rehmat said: “It is a great moment of satisfaction that the first-ever Hindu temple is being built in Islamabad. Pakistan is a multi-faith state but its history and record do not reflect proactive recognition and support for the country’s diversity and pluralism. The temple will go a long way in promoting religious inclusivity and strengthen interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Hindus, and indeed all other minority faith practitioners like Christians, Buddhists, Kailash Zoroastrians and others are equal citizens of the state. Allowing them freedom of belief and prayer will strengthen Pakistan.”

Educationist, critic and avid writer Rubina Shaheen said: “We are a diverse society, not just racially or culturally, but also religiously. Religion plays a huge part in many people’s lives. Acknowledging the existence and rights of other religious communities is highly appreciable and a very positive sign for a Roshan Pakistan.”

According to a survey carried out by All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement, of the 428 Hindu temples in Pakistan only around 20 survive today and they remain neglected by the Evacuee Trust Property Board, which controls them while the rest had been converted for other uses. According to the survey, nearly 1000 active and former Hindu temples were attacked in retaliation following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in India 1992.

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