The top court on Tuesday recommended the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) administration to rebuild a Hindu temple in Karak district by a special architect.
Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heading a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, has referred his order, wherein it had asked architect Kamil Khan to renovate a Hindu Mandar in Lahore.
Similarly, the chief justice said that the K-P authority should also hire special architect to rebuild the temple otherwise its grace might be damaged. They may again ask architect Kamil to renovate the Hindu religious place.
A shrine had been constructed at a place where Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj died in 1919 and was buried in Teri village. His followers used to visit the place to pay their respects till 1997 when the temple was dismantled.
Hindu elders from Sindh had to intervene in the matter, negotiate for the land and pay Rs375,000 to Mufti Iftikhar in 1997. Despite receiving the money the land was not vacated.
During the hearing, Mufti Iftikhar told the bench that Rs375,000 were not paid to him. He also filed an application for becoming the party in this case. The applicant, who is by caste a mufti, stated that he has no concern nexus with Samadhi (shrine) as his house was allotted by Evacuee Trust Properties Board (ETTB) and they have been occupying it since 1950.
He said that all the proceedings regarding the case were conducted in his absence which amounted to miscarriage of justice. The applicant, however, claimed that present price of his 5-marla house is around Rs5 million.
Meantime, DCO Karak also informed the bench that Rs2 million has been allocated to reconstruct the Hindu temple. He also alleged that Pakistan Hindu Council patron in-chief Dr Ramesh Kumar is exploiting this issue on religious basis. He shared photos of that place to the bench, wherein it was showed that place of temple has been vacated and path is cleared to reach that spot.
Another member of the bench Justice Dost Muhammad Khan has suggested the K-P administration to purchase the house from Mufti Iftikhar, otherwise this controversy will not be implemented.
“Lets implement the court’s order. Come what may,” the chief justice asked the DCO.
On April 16, the apex court directed the K-P government to ensure that the temple is restored and to submit a report in two weeks. However, Peshawar High Court (PHC) representative claimed that despite the court’s order, the temple has not been reconstructed.
Meanwhile, other representatives of the minorities submitted that the federal and provincial governments did not implement eights directions, given by the top court in its June 19 judgment last year on the minorities’ rights.
However, the bench told them that that matter will be taken up on the next hearing. The hearing is adjourned for 10 days.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015.