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H Malik | The Express Tribune | Islamabad | March 12, 2015: The top court has directed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to take effective steps for reconstruction and preservation of a Hindu shrine illegally occupied by a cleric in the southern Karak district.
On Wednesday, when a three-judge bench – headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk – took up the matter related to non-implementation of the apex court’s June 19, 2014 judgment, K-P’s Additional Advocate General Waqar Ahmad Khan submitted a report before the bench.
The report states that in compliance with the court order, a meeting of Ulema hailing from Karak was convened on February 15 under the chairmanship of Maulana Sharif at BD Shah Tehsil.
About 75 Ulema attended the meeting which decided against the reconstruction of the Hindu shrine “due to the current law and order situation in the province”, Karak’s deputy commissioner stated in the report. It further says that an Ulema committee will meet JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and inform him about ‘resentment of Muslims’ to the reconstruction of the shrine. However, it does not say when the meeting will take place.
“It is suggested that a meeting of all concerned be convened to evolve a strategy to deal with any eventuality that might result from implementation of the court judgment,” the report states.
The Supreme Court bench, however, expressed reservations over the K- P government’s move of involving the Ulema in the matter. Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk observed that it was not a rational decision to involve the Ulema – instead local people should have been taken into confidence.
Dr Ramesh Kumar, the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) who brought up the issue in the top court, told the bench that he had met Kohat’s commissioner and Maulana Sharif to discuss the matter. Maulana Sharif admitted that the land belonged to the Hindu temple but still they would not return it to the community, Dr Ramesh said, claiming that the local people have no objection to the reconstruction of the shrine.
The bench observed that involvement of the Ulema in this matter meant that the provincial government was not taking any step for the reconstruction of the shrine. The bench sought a fresh report on the matter and adjourned the hearing for Thursday (today).
On June 7, 2014, K-P’s Advocate General Latif Yousufzai had submitted a report in the Supreme Court on behalf of Karak’s deputy commissioner explaining how and why the shrine was occupied. The report stated that a Hindu pontiff, named Shri Param Hans Ki Mehaj, died in 1919 and was buried in the shrine. His followers often visited the shrine after his death and the practice continued till 1997.
“Some locals destroyed the shrine, and the issue came to light when some Hindu followers of Shri Param tried to restore an old path leading to the shrine, which is now occupied by a local cleric, Mufti Iftikharuddin.” Hindu leaders from Sindh paid Rs 375,000 to the mufti as cost of the land, but he has not vacated the land since 1997.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, Pakisatn.