- More by Michael Al-Said
The Pakistan government wants to restore temples and hand them over to the Hindu community Of Pakistani citizens
This story is currently developing. Further updates will follow
To be notified of developments as they break
Advertisement – Advertise here from OMR 100 / $275 USD
408 of 428 Hindu temples in Pakistan were converted into toy stores, schools etc. after 1990.
Pakistan’s federal government has decided to reopen Hindu temples across the country in phases, fulfilling the longstanding demand of the minority Hindus that their places of worship be restored to them.
When most Hindus left Pakistan during Partition, many temples were lost to encroachment; even in places where some Hindu families stayed back, locals moved in and occupied temple land. Many temple complexes ended up being used as an amenity or commerce facility and some even became Madrassas.
Now the Pakistan government wants to reclaim temples and hand them over to the Hindu community of Pakistani citizens, noting that the hand over is to Pakistani Hindus and not to the state of India.
The government has decided to reclaim and restore 400 temples to the Hindu citizens of Pakistan.
The process will begin with two historic shrines in Sialkot and Peshawar. Sialkot has a functioning Jagannath Temple and now the 1,000-year-old Shivalaya Teja Singh is set to be restored.
Hindus had stopped visiting the shivalaya (shawala) after a mob attack during Babri Mosque demolition protests in 1992.
In Peshawar, the Pakistani courts had ordered reopening of the Gorakhnath Temple and it’s been declared a heritage site.
From now on, two to three such historic and heritage temple complexes will be restored by the government of Pakistan every year.
Earlier, the All-Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement conducted a survey across the country and the result shocked everyone. The survey found there were 428 Hindu temples at the time of the British enforced Partition in 1947. 408 of them were turned into toy stores, restaurants, government offices and schools after 1990.
According to a recent government estimate, at least 11 temples in Sindh, four in Punjab, three in Balochistan and two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are still operational in 2019.
Pakistan recently agreed to open the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to facilitate pilgrimage to Guru Nanak’s birthplace from Punjab on the Indian side.
The Pakistan government has also opened a corridor that allows Hindu pilgrims to visit Sharda Peeth, an ancient Saraswati temple in Pakistan.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Al-Sahawat Times than ever but advertising revenues across the global media industry are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a total paywall. We want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Al-Sahawat Times’ independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe truly ethical media and an unbias perspective really matters.
“I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.”
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, the future of ethical media and the futures of our staff and their families would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support Al-Sahawat Times and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
This story is available on:
APPLE NEWS | GOOGLE NEWS | AL-SAHAWAT TIMES
Talk to a journalist
Follow Al-Sahawat Times
?Read it on FLIPBOARD