ISLAMABAD: Members of Pakistan Hindu Council on Saturday said setting up of a crematorium and temple in the capital should not be politicised as it was an essential requirement of the Hindu community.
Talking to media along with Krishan Sharma, a civil society activist, PTI MNA Lal Chand Malhi said the plot for the crematory and temple was allotted by the PML-N government in 2018 after recognising the needs of the Hindus.
Mr Sharma said there were around 3,000 Hindus living in Islamabad who had shifted mostly from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to serious law and order situation in their native areas.
“This is not a political or religious issue but a social need for us,” he said, adding: “We are ready to listen to the concerns of the Muslim brothers or organisations that have raised objections against the construction of the temple in H-9.”
He said: “Besides, there has to be a place in the federal capital for ceremonies related to marriages and festivals like Holi and Diwali.”
Mr Sharma said construction of a temple in Islamabad would improve Pakistan’s image around the world, especially when the Modi-led extremist government in India was busy persecuting religious minorities.
PTI MNA Lal Chand Malhi said one of the main objections was that Muslim taxpayers’ money could not be used to build a temple.
“We too are the taxpayers in this country, adding billions of rupees to the national kitty, and the government has not used much of our tax money on building temples in the last 70 years. So a part of that money can be utilised for the construction of the temple,” he said.
He said the second objection the Muslim clerics had raised was that a new temple could not be built in an Islamic state.
“If UAE, an Islamic state, can build a temple, why not Pakistan,” he said, adding that clerics have asked the government to renovate existing places of worship and make them functional.
“If they want six temples renovated in Islamabad city, why are they opposing construction of just one temple,” he said.
He also decried the delay by the CDA in the grant of permission to construct a boundary wall on the plot for the crematorium in H-9.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020