Pakistan Assures Minorities, Forms Separate Committee To Manage Hindu Temples
Islamabad, January 1 (TNA) Pakistan this week formed a separate committee, the Pakistan Hindu Temple Management Committee, under the Ministry of Religious Affairs to manage religious sites of the country's minorities, Hindus and Sikhs. Most such sites are in poor shape because of decades of neglect by the government.
The newly formed committee on Thursday held its meeting which was also attended by Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq. Speaking at the meeting, he expressed the hope that the committee would act as a bridge between the non-Muslim population and the State.
The formation of the committee had long been a demand of minority community members. Asif Hashmi, chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), a body that had been managing these sites until now, briefed the members of the committee. A few months ago, the ETPB was pulled up by Pakistan’s Supreme Court for poorly managing religious sites belonging to minorities.
The committee comprising Dewan Chand Chawla, Haroon Sarab Dayal, Mohandas, Naranjan Kumar, Megha Arora, Amit Shadani, Ashok Kumar, Versi Mill Dewani, and Amar Nath Randhawa will be headed by Krishna Sharma, according to a report by PTI.
Soon after the formation of the committee, Sharma said, “Pakistan has created history by constituting the committee on the demand of the Hindu community.”
In recent years, several temples and gurudwaras have come under attack by Islamists in Pakistan. Early this year, a revered temple was burned down by an extremist mob in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province. Thereafter, an under-construction temple in the capital Islamabad was also vandalized.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan later took suo moto cognizance of the matter and reprimanded several senior government officials for failing to protect religious sites of minorities.
On Thursday, Religious Affairs Minister Qadri assured minorities, saying their problems were being solved on a priority basis and the formation of the committee will be instrumental in resolving the issues of the Pakistani Hindu community.
He added that despite religious and cultural diversity, tolerance and acceptance of each other was the basis of humanity, adding that evil elements want confrontation in Pakistan on the basis of religion, sect, and language, PTI reported. Around 7.5 million Hindus are still live in Pakistan, mostly in its southern Sindh province.