Dozens of worship places of minority communities to be renovated

Currently, the number of gurdwaras and temples in Pakistan stands at 1,830

Asif Mehmood January 29, 2021


This year, several gurdwaras and temples across Pakistan will undergo renovation as the country is home to hundreds of holy places belonging to minorities. Currently, the number of gurdwaras and temples in Pakistan stands at 1,830. Unfortunately, only 31 temples and gurdwaras out of the said tally are operational as of now, prompting the government into concrete action.

The renovation of several temples and gurdwaras is likely to be completed this year in collaboration with the Evacuee Trust Property Board, the provincial governments and the Sikh and Hindu community members.

In Lahore, the renovation of two historic churches is in progress while seven temples, including an ancient Sikh mansion, will be restored in Rawalpindi. The construction of a crematory, community centre and a temple for the Hindu community at the H-9 sector of Islamabad is also likely to be completed in 2021.

Secretary General of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Sardar Ameer Singh said: “Karsewa of Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore has been going on for many years. But the Indian members of the Karsewa Committee had to return home as their visa had expired and it could not be renewed because of the pandemic. So this work was stalled and will be resumed soon.”

Similarly, the restoration work at the Gurdwara Bali La, Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Tanbo Sahib will be completed soon, he said.

Pakistan issues visas to Indian Hindu pilgrims to visit historic temples

According to Singh, Gurdwara Chawa Sahib near Jhelum and Gurdwara Khara Sahib at Nowshera Warkan will be opened to the Sikh community after restoration. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Deputy Secretary of the Evacuee Trust Property Board Syed Faraz Abbas said the government was working to restore historic temples and gurdwaras across the country.

Abbas said that the second phase of renovation of the ancient Shawala Teja Temple in Sialkot has been started this year. Similarly, the renovation of the Hindu temple in Hyderabad will be completed until January 29.

“The renovation of the ancient Panj Tirath temple in Peshawar will also begin in a few days.”

On the other hand, Head of the Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said that a major temple and gurdwara are activated every year.

Apart from the Evacuee Trust Property Board, the provincial governments are also playing their part in the restoration of the ancient historical temples and gurdwaras, he said. “The Punjab government has planned to restore the historic Sujan Singh Haveli in Rawalpindi and seven small temples within a one-kilometer radius.”

Commissioner Rawalpindi captain (retd) Muhammad Mahmood said that there are seven small temples within an area of one kilometer around the Sujan Singh Haveli and it has been decided to include their restoration in PC-1 of the Sujan Singh Haveli project.

He said that these seven temples around Sujan Singh Haveli would be identified and restored and information about their historical status would be displayed at a prominent spot.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board is responsible for overseeing the Waqf properties and holy places of Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan.

As for the Christian places of worship, they are maintained and supervised by the missionary bodies of the Christian community. However, the Punjab government has entrusted the Walled City of Lahore Authority with the responsibility of preserving the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection and St. Anthony’s Church in Lahore.

The Punjab government has allocated Rs50 million for both the projects. The church protection and restoration project includes building, cleaning, water-proofing, electrical work and roofing.

The restoration project for both the churches has begun and will be completed until June 2021.

Director General Walled City of Lahore Authority Kamran Lashari said that these are important projects for the protection of national heritage and their aim is to promote religious harmony.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2021.


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