Pakistan: After Hate Campaign Stopped New Hindu Temple, Government Cancelled The Plot Allotted To Hindu Community

by Swarajya Staff - Nov 9, 2021 06:31 PM +05:30 IST
Pakistan: After Hate Campaign Stopped New Hindu Temple, Government Cancelled The Plot Allotted To Hindu CommunityFoundation being laid for the first Hindu temple in Islamabad. (Picture: @OrgSarifm)
  • After public outrage, the government says it has restored the plot.

Last July, construction of a Hindu temple in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad was halted after a vehement hate campaign by Muslim clerics and their followers. This week, officials told a court that the Pakistani government had cancelled the plot allotted to the Hindu community.

However, the government came under severe criticism from the liberal section of Pakistan, forcing authorities to declare that they were reversing the cancellation of the plot.

In July 2020, construction began on the first-ever Hindu temple in Islamabad after government clearances. The Pakistan government was supposed to partially fund it. At present, Islamabad has no Hindu temple or cremation space. An estimated 3,000 Hindus live in Islamabad.

As soon as a boundary wall was built, religious leaders and residents began a hate campaign against it, warning of bloodbath if the Imran Khan government did not stop the temple from being built.

A cleric, addressing his followers, was seen saying that if the government went ahead with its plan to build a temple, Pakistanis would chop heads of officials and throw them outside the temple to feed stray dogs.

A TikTok user posted a video of his little son warning Imran Khan that if he indeed built the temple, he would kill “each and every Hindu”.

A man, purportedly a news reporter, went to the temple site, dismantled the under-construction wall hailing Allah, and posted the video on Facebook with a song ‘Main Pakistan hun, main zindabad hun’ playing in the background.

A man — who introduced himself as a Pakistani living in Canada — was seen at the site supporting such vandalism, bad-mouthing “kaafirs” and asking aloud if Narendra Modi was funding the temple.

A singer released a song referring to “Hindustanis” as dogs and saying that he and his ilk would never allow the temple to come up in Islamabad.

Hindustani Kutto, tussi raho zara aukaat vich. Banane ni dena mandir assi kadi Islamabad vich (Hindustani dogs, stay in your limits. We will never allow temple to come up in Islamabad),” said the beginning lines of the song in Punjabi.

Hindus comprise less than 2 per cent of Pakistan’s population.

The government put a stop to further construction, without issuing any official statement.

Pakistani daily The Dawn has reported today that a government department — Capital Development Authority (CDA) — through its counsel Javed Iqbal told Islamabad High Court on Monday that the civic agency had cancelled the plot for the Hindu community in February 2021 as no construction had taken place.

A four kanal land at H-9/2 had been allotted to the Hindu community in 2016 for a temple, cremation ground and a community centre.

CDA spokesperson Syed Asif Raza later told the media that the statement by CDA counsel had been made out of “confusion”. Raza said that a cabinet decision that all allotments of lands, whether for universities or community centres, where construction had not begun stood cancelled. Raza said the cabinet decision did not apply to the temple as it did not fall in the category where construction had not taken place.

The Dawn reports that Raza showed the media a document that said the order cancelling he plot in February stood cancelled.

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