The Hindu community has decided to pay the fines imposed on 11 religious leaders involved in the Karak temple attack in December 2020 from All Pakistan Hindu Council’s fund as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to increase interfaith harmony between the Hindu and Muslim community in Karak district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered the recovery of Rs30.30 million reconstruction charges of the temple from the accused nominated in the FIR despite the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government objections after it was discovered that the local clerics, who were involved in the attack, were creating hurdles in the rebuilding of the temple too.
The temple is being rebuilt by the government but a local cleric and a local resident objected to the expansion of the temple and ‘directed’ the contractor to construct a boundary wall in front of the verandah just to enrage the Hindu community.
“The Hindu Council decided to pay the fine of Jamait Ulemai-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) district Amir Maulana Mir Zaqeem, former district nazim Karak Rehmat Salam Khattak, Maulana Sharifullah and eight other leaders and Rs268,000 per person have already been paid,” said a local resident.
“There are a total of 123 accused nominated in the FIR by police many of whom were nominated with the help of video footage of the attack,” he said.
The district administration has already sent notices to these 123 people to pay their share of the fine on October 26. A list of the properties of these people has also been prepared as it has been decided to confiscate their moveable and immovable properties if they fail to pay the amount.
Talking to The Express Tribune a local Hindu leader said that their community was completely helpless as despite the government involvement, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) refused to help them in the expansion of the temple during the reconstruction phase due to the fear of the local clerics so they didn’t want to further enrage these clerics and decided to pay their share of fine from the Hindu Council’s fund.
“The DC refused even to take action against a local cleric who said that the word ‘Hindu Temple’ will not be inscribed on the front of the building,” he said.
“The amount has already been paid but now all the 123 accused are demanding that their fine should also be paid by the Hindu community which is not possible,” he said.
Police and district administration on Friday once again asked the accused to pay the amount within 14 days otherwise strict action will be taken against them.
They have been asked to submit affidavits with local police stations that they would pay the amount.
After the payment of the amount by the Hindu community a diwali function was held on November 8 in the newly constructed temple in Karak in which Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan also participated.
The Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad on the occasion said that there is complete religious freedom for all people under the constitution of the country and all steps will be taken to ensure this freedom.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2021.
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