Last week Pakistan made it to the headlines in international press as the construction of the first Hindu temple in Islamabad began. The much needed construction was referred to as “a part of government’s outreach to the minority Hindu community.”
The much needed “positive image” of fostering interfaith harmony was shattered only days after the announcement as the construction of the temple was halted citing “legal reasons”.
Representatives of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) visited the construction site in Sector H-9/2 on Friday to stop the construction of the temple’s boundary wall.
CDA spokesman Mazhar Hussain said, “The construction work can be undertaken in Islamabad only after approval of the building plan.” Hence, terming the construction activity “illegal.”
However, PTI’s MNA, Lal Malhi said that CDA neither served any notice nor did it show any order for stopping the work on the land that was allotted to the Hindu Panchayat of Islamabad by none other than CDA itself in February 2018!
As pointed out by many and later acknowledged by CDA officials, the clause has been used probably for the first time in the federal capital to stop the construction of a boundary wall. In the past, while other legal procedures continued simultaneously, land owners were allowed to construct boundary walls to protect their land from possible encroachment.
What began as a “legal” hindrance has now evidently become a religious concern with the government having reached out to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for advice.
Meanwhile, 92 News, has claimed the credit for stopping the construction of Krishna Mandir.
The issue of the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad has yet again exposed the deeply entrenched hypocrisy of us, the Pakistanis. While we promptly jump on any and every bandwagon demanding rights for minorities around the world, the same zeal is not only absent for the minorities inside Pakistan but as 92 News exemplified, we don’t mind being the oppressors ourselves.
If the construction is stalled any further, we will not have a leg to stand on while propagating the interfaith harmony narrative.
This disturbing example also highlights the inability of the government to stand firm against religious fanatics.
Pakistan is home to about eight million Hindus, according to estimates from the country’s Hindu Council.
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