In face of grave religious persecution, including fatwa (Islamic decree) issued by a Lahore-based prominent Islamic seminary and threats from Muslim fundamentalists, brave Hindus in Pakistan have decided to go ahead with building a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna in the country’s capital Islamabad.
Braving the odds of building a Hindu temple in a predominantly radicalised Islamic country, the tiny Hindu population of Islamabad have made up their mind of building a Sri Krishna temple on the 20,000 sq ft land allotted to them by the Pakistani government.
Fatwa issued against the construction of Hindu temple in Islamabad
The decision to build a Hindu temple in defiance of threats from fundamentalists and Islamic seminaries is of particular significance, given the country’s troubled history of religious persecution of minorities, especially Hindus. As per media reports, a Lahore chapter of seminary Jamia Ashrafia has issued a fatwa, prohibiting the construction of a new temple but “permitting” the minority community to repair their places of worship.
The fatwa said that in Islamic nations, renovation of existing places of worships of non-Islamic religions are allowed but the construction of new places of worship for such religions is forbidden.
Other than the fatwa, a petition was also filed in the Islamabad High Court against the construction of the temple. The petitioner said that the scheme does not fall under the master plan prepared for national capital Islamabad. The High Court has issued a notice to the Capital Development Authority (CDA). The petition urged that the land allotted for the construction of the temple in Sector H9 of Islamabad should be withdrawn and that the construction funds for the temple should also be withdrawn.
First Hindu temple constructed in Pakistan’s capital
It is worth noting that this is the first time that a Hindu temple is being built in Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad. Earlier, there were two Hindu temples in the city, one of which was transformed into a tourist place and the other one is locked in a litigation case.
Following the groundbreaking ceremony of Sri Krishna Temple held on June 23, the Islamabad Hindu Panchayat had met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on June 25. According to a PTI’s Member National Assembly, Lal Chand Malhi, the construction of Sri Krishna Temple is going in full swing, adding that about 3000 Hindus live in the Pakistani capital and they had been championing the cause of constructing a temple dedicated to Sri Krishna since 2017.
Malhi further added that the Capital Development Authority in 2017 had allotted the plot to the Hindu Panchayat for a temple and crematorium and it took nearly three years for the formal ratification, including seeking approval of site plan, and for the construction of a new temple.
The PTI’s MNA said that he had urged the Prime Minister to authorise Rs 10 crore for the construction of the temple. “He had immediately sanctioned Rs 10 lakh and if we get financial support from the government, the construction will complete soon or else it could take some time,” he said.