ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to get a Hindu temple in Karak restored and reconstructed.
The order came after Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmed told a two-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk that efforts were being made for an amicable settlement of the matter.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a PML-N member of the National Assembly from Tharparkar and patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, had invited the attention of the apex court to the frequent incidents of desecration of Hindu temples in the country, especially occupation of Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s Samadhi in Teri village of Karak district by an influential mufti.
Dr Vankwani said he had met the provincial chief secretary, the inspector general of police and the local commissioner, but he had been informed that the Hindu notable in whose name the temple was built had converted to Islam. Besides, if the temple was allowed to be constructed it would encourage “sleuths of Indian intelligence agency RAW to settle in the area”.
But the court reiterated its order issued on March 11 and directed the KP government to restore and preserve the Karak temple.
Dr Vankwani argued that the local community acknowledged the right of the Hindu community over the temple, but local religious leaders had resisted its reconstruction.
A letter written by the-then deputy commissioner of Karak to a deputy secretary of the provincial home department in Feb 2014, which was submitted to the Supreme Court, had traced the history of the unrest in the area.
According to the document, a Hindu shrine was constructed at a place where Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj died in 1919 and buried in Teri village. His followers used to visit the place to pay their respects and the practice continued till 1997 when some Muslim fanatics dismantled the temple.
Consequently, followers of Shri Paramhans Ji tried to build the temple on the place allegedly occupied by a local religious leader even though the property belonged to the Auqaf department.
Hindu elders from Sindh then intervened and tried to negotiate and even paid Rs375,000 as cost of the land to the mufti in 1997. But despite receiving the money from then minority MPA Gian Chand, the mufti did not vacate the property.
The MPA met the-then KP chief minister to seek his support for getting back the land. Several meetings between ulema led by local notable Maulana Mohammad Sharif and Hindu elders from Sindh were held but the Maulana, who had a great influence in Banda Daud Shah tehsil, was not ready to let the Hindus get their right.
A meeting presided over by Maulana Sharif and attended by about 75 ulema decided on Feb 15 this year that a committee would meet JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and inform him about the resentment of Muslims against reconstruction of the temple.
But the meeting, which did not fix any date for the meeting with Maulana Fazl, also decided that in the wake of the current law and order situation the permission for reconstruction of the temple could not be granted, said the letter submitted during the last hearing.
Dr Vankwani told the court that the federal government had placed before the National Assembly a Hindu Marriage Bill, but parliament could not adopt it until the provincial assemblies passed resolutions in this regard.
The Supreme Court requested the provincial assemblies to consider passing the required resolutions and submit their report to it in a month.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2015