THE CDA’s withdrawal of a notification regarding the cancellation of allotment of a plot reserved for a Hindu temple and cremation centre demonstrates how crucial public pressure is to ensuring that the state takes affirmative action for minority communities.

In 2017, the CDA allotted four kanals of land to the Hindu community residing in Islamabad. But last year, because of pressure from right-wing religious groups, the CDA stopped the community from constructing a boundary wall around the land. It also emerged during a hearing of the Islamabad High Court on Monday that the CDA had cancelled the allotment of the temple site in February 2021 because construction had not begun. This led to criticism on social media, forcing the CDA to restore the allotment within a few hours.

With this move, around 3,000 members of the Hindu community in Islamabad and its adjoining areas might finally have a designated place to perform religious rituals and organise festivals. In contrast to the fickle-headed approach of the authorities, public pressure prevailed, enabling the government to stand by its decision of extending to the beleaguered Hindu community their constitutional right to practise their religion.

Read: Temple in Islamabad is our requirement, says Hindu Council

However, public pressure alone cannot do much if the state is unwilling to take action for the protection of marginalised groups. In this context, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s inauguration of a restored temple last week in Karak, KP, was a notable gesture of support for Pakistan’s minority communities. The Teri temple had been destroyed in December last year by a mob led by members of a far-right religious party.

His visit not only showed support of the highest court of the land to the Hindu community, it also sent a message to extremist groups that the state will not always surrender to their diktat. But though these are important steps, they are not enough unless combined with reformative changes such as those mentioned in the 2014 Supreme Court judgement authored by the then chief justice Tassaduq Jillani.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...
Security policy unveiled
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Security policy unveiled

PAKISTAN’S freshly unveiled National Security Policy has broadened the traditional concept and included economic...
Bold decisions
Updated 17 Jan, 2022

Bold decisions

IT is a double blow within a matter of days. The Islamabad High Court’s order last week to demolish a navy golf...
17 Jan, 2022

Rohingya camp blaze

A HUGE blaze in a refugee camp housing members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh last week has left up to ...