CJP pledges protection to minorities, their properties

Published October 25, 2021
CHIEF Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed speaks to the audience at Shiv temple in Hyderabad.—Dawn
CHIEF Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed speaks to the audience at Shiv temple in Hyderabad.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Supreme Court Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has said he is under constitutional obligation to ensure protection to religious minorities. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had even before creation of Pakistan promised full religious freedom to minorities.

The CJP was speaking at a gathering held in the Shiv temple, located within the local circuit house, in connection with the Hindu festival of Navratari. He along with his family attended the Navratri programme held on Saturday night and also visited the temple. The programme was attended by Hindu community members in a large number.

Justice Ahmed told the gathering that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed religious freedom and this would be fully protected. He added that all citizens had the right to enjoy this freedom.

He noted that cases related to temples and other properties of minorities often came up before him for hearing. The Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman had been repeatedly directed that these property be returned, he said.

Visits temple, attends Navratri programme in Hyderabad

The CJP said that the issue of the Hyderabad circuit house temple would also be looked into. Its record would be obtained from the ETPB. He also promised that the Terhi and other temples as well as rights of minorities would be protected as he was under constitutional obligation to do this. He said he would certainly visit the Terhi temple.

Earlier, Pakistan Hindu Council chairman Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said that CJP’s participation in the ceremony along with his family was indeed an honour for the Hindu community. He said that the CJP had taken action regarding the Terhi temple which had been constructed on his intervention. He invited the CJP to inaugurate the temple because it was his efforts that led to its restoration.

Mr Vankwani said that properties of minorities were still being occupied although the CJP had taken initiatives in this regard. He said that 50pc of such properties in Sindh were still under unlawful occupation, adding that nobody was holding the ETPB accountable.

He called for putting an end to excesses against minorities. He said Sindh government was showing slackness in this regard. He urged that the problems relating to provincial government’s inaction must be resolved as well.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2021

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