In yet another setback for minority Hindus in Pakistan, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Friday stopped construction of the boundary wall of the Hindu temple being built in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad citing legal reasons.
Following the decision to halt the construction of the temple, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government is set to seek the advice of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) on the matter. The Prime Minister has directed the religious affairs ministry to forward the issue of granting the construction of the temple to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for advice.
Reportedly, a joint team of the CDA’s enforcement and building control departments reached the site of the temple in Islamabad on Friday and asked the workers to stop constructing the boundary wall.
The CDA spokesman Mazhar Hussain said the building control laws of the civic authority clearly stated that no activity could take place on a plot until the building plan was approved. Interestingly, this reason does not hold water since if it was only the legality that was stopping the construction of the temple, Imran Khan would not have to seek the advice of the Council of Islamic Ideology.
Giving credence to the fact that the legality being cited was hogwash and Pakistan was simply following the lead of radicals, another senior officer of CDA’s enforcement department revealed that it was for the first time that this clause had been enforced as others were allowed to construct boundary wall and ensure possession of their plot even the formalities regarding approval continued.
The Hindu Panchayat Islamabad, responsible for the construction of the temple has now halted the work and decided to approach the CDA on Monday to seek permission for commencing the construction.
“We abide by the rules but the construction of a boundary wall was necessary as some people, backed by a few seminary students, had set up tents on the plot in 2018, and it took several months for us to get the place cleared with the help of the capital administration,” PTI MNA Lal Chand Malhi said.
The proposed temple at Islamabad was to be the first temple to be built in the Pakistani capital city ever since Islamic country came into existence in 1947. The Islamabad city authorities had allocated a 20,000 sqft plot for the construction of the temple.
Interestingly, a Pakistan news channel, 92 News HD Plus, had taken credit for spearheading the Islamist agenda of stopping the construction of the Hindu temple.
However, presumably to further the “legal” excuse for stopping the construction, the news channel has now deleted the article where it claimed credit.
Islamic clerics oppose Hindu temple in Islamabad, says it is against Islam
The hardline-radical Islamists in Pakistan have opposed the construction of Hindu temple in Pakistan claiming that it was contrary to the idea of Pakistan, which is Islam.
A group of Islamic leaders on Wednesday had attacked the Imran Khan government for granting funds to the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad, who termed it as against Pakistan’s ideology. The religious parties also said that they would take up the issue in the Federal Shariat Court.
The Islamic leaders claimed that building a temple on the taxes of Muslims cannot be tolerated in Pakistan.
Maulana Abdul Hameed Hazarvi, the chief of Jamiat Ulema e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Islamabad chapter said that they were going to raise the issue in the Shariat Court.
Another cleric, Kashif Chaudhry, who is the leader of Central Jamiat Ahlihadees said that building of a temple was nothing more than playing with the feelings of 220 million people of the country. He added that building a new temple in Islamabad was unimaginable as there was already a temple built in Said Pur Village near Islamabad.
Maulana Tanvir Alvi said that all the sects of Islam were agreed upon a point that no temple or church can be built in a Muslim country.
Not just Islamic fanatics but also politicians in Pakistan had opposed the building of the temple in Islamabad. Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi from Pakistan’s Punjab province had opposed the construction of a temple in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad claiming that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam.
He had said that the construction of a new temple in Islamabad was not only against the spirit of Islam but also an insult to the ‘Madina Riayasat’, a reference to the Islamic welfare state that Pakistan aspires to be.
Maulavi issues fatwa, calls temple ‘un-Islamic’
Following the decision of Pakistan government to build the temple in Islamabad, Mufti Zia-ud-Din of the Lahore chapter of Jamia Ashrafia, a leading cleric in Pakistan has issued a “fatwa” against the construction of the temple, calling it “un-Islamic”.
The fatwa claimed that while the repair of an existing structure for non-Muslims is allowed, construction of new places of worship is not permitted in Islamic nations.