To be a minority in Pakistan is to sin, as over the years unspeakable atrocities have been committed against them with the Pakistani government not only acting as a mere bystander but also tacitly aiding the perpetrators of heinous crimes. After an ancient Hindu temple was vandalised by radical Islamists and left for ruins in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , it grabbed global headlines with the Pakistan Supreme Court ordering the reconstruction of the vandalised Hindu temple.
In a strong ruling, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed ordered the Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) – which is a statutory board of the Government of Pakistan, to reconstruct the temple. The ruling stated that the incident of vandalising over 100-year-old temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district brought “international shame to Pakistan”.
Additionally, the court asked EPTB to submit details of all functional and non-functional temples and gurdwaras across the country. The EPTB which administers properties left behind by Hindus and Sikhs after the partition in 1947, was also ordered to clear all the encroachments from temples across the country while also acting against the officials who were involved in the encroachments.
The court was apprised by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Chief that 109 people involved in the vandalism of the ancient temple have been arrested with 92 police officials, including the superintendent of police (SP) and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) who were on duty at the time, have been suspended.
Importantly, the court asked the EPTB to recover the costs of reconstruction from Maulvi Mohammad Sharif who is suspected to be the key conspirator behind the vandalism of the temple. In fact, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has stated that his government would reconstruct the temple at the shortest possible time.
Reportedly, around 1,500 people had participated in the attack on the temple which is believed to have been led by a section of local clerics and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group).
A strongly worded ruling which seeks to reconstruct the temple and the subsequent arrest of the perpetrators and the suspension of the officials clearly indicate that the vandalising of Hindu Temples was a common practice in Pakistan, cannot sustain any longer as the international pressure on the country is at an all time high and is forced to behave or risk being completely isolated like North Korea.