Temple ‘sold,’ then demolished in Pakistan

Evacuee Trust Property Board ,ETPB, Soha Mohalla,Hindu Temples, Pakistan, demolished, Haripur,Mosques

When it comes to Hindu Temples, their scope of existence in Pakistan is no mystery.

While Nawaz Sharif may have been mouthing a lot of things about social justice and equality for minorities, yet the situation is far from desirable.

Another Hindu Temple has been demolished in Pakistan. The Temple in question is the Soha Temple which stood in a corner of Mohalla Soha, Haripur, Pakistan.

Tribune.com.pk has reported that an inquiry was launched on December 16, 2016, by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) assistant administrator in Hasanabdal.

The paper, says that it has come to light that the Hindu Temple was first sold to one Muhamamd Nawaz Khan,  a resident of Mohallah Motiyan, via a registration deed during an open auction in September 2003.

The newspaper noted that Nawaz, had been occupying the Hindu Temple since 1972 as a tenant and later sold it to Nisar Begum. Nisar sold it to a trader from Haripur named Saeed Akhtar.

Locals have been quoted as saying that the demolition work on the Hindu Temple property was split between the ownership periods of Nisar and Akhtar.

Temple demolition shows lack of empathy for Hindu properties in Pakistan

ETPB and revenue department officials visited the Temple site but they refused to do anything on the FIR against Akhtar and Nisar, the report says.

A letter written by ETPB Assistant Administrator Muhammad Abdullah on December 23, 2016, says that:

“It (complaint) was made…merely [based] on a local newspaper report to maintain law and order in the area and to avoid any untoward situation.”

The letter said that he visited the Hindu Temple site with other officials of ETPB and found that an open plot registered with ETPB had been sold to Muhammad Nawaz Khan on September 17, 2003, for Rs347,742. It said that the Temple was non-functional and in a dilapidated condition and was included in the sold out area by the competent authority and the department has no concern about it.  It adds that the purchaser had paid its sale price and he had sole ownership over the property, complete with the right to demolish any existing structure or build new ones according to needs.

What if India does to Mosques, that Pakistan does to Temples, wonder secularists in Pakistan

The Express Tribune dug further and reached Akhtar who confirmed that the area was a religious building but said that it was Dharamshala (charitable guest houses for poor and pilgrims). Many Temples have been demolished for commercial buildings in Pakistan.

A retired teacher Muhammad Qasim told The Express Tribune, that the Haripur property was indeed a Hindu temple.  He told the Pakistani paper that it was called the Soha Temple by locals and that it was built by the Mehta Himraj, founder of Soha Mohalla in the early 1940s.

He also wondered “if India starts demolishing mosques, what would our reaction be?”

Shri Rama Pir Mandir in Karachi’s Soldier Bazar, was earlier demolished in 2012. The builder even demolished houses of Hindu community and when Hindu community had asked for justice the authorities denied that any Hindu Temple stood on the locality triggering Hindus to demand tickets to migrate to India.

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Picture: For representational purpose only