Pak Govt says construction of Hindu temple constitutional, PUC also supports

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Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: Referring to the country’s constitution, the Pakistan Government has supported the proposal of reconstructing the temple in capital Islamabad while justifying the grant of Rs.100 million from the government fund. In the meantime, the Pakistan Council of Islamic Ideology (PCII) has sought four to six weeks to decide whether public funds could be used to build a new Hindu temple in Islamabad. 

In a breakthrough on the issue, government and those who are in favour of construction of Shri Krishna Mandir in Islamabad got potential support from Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC). The Council has not only extended support to the construction of the temple but has criticised those who were making the issue controversial. “It is big support indeed and will help in paving the way for the building up the place of worship for the Hindu community”, commented the observers.

LAHORE: Activists of Sunni Tehreek hold a protest outside Lahore Press Club against the proposed construction of temple in Islamabad from government fund.

At the same time, Jamaat-e-Islami and other fundamentalist organisations are continuously protesting against the construction of temple. Demonstrations are being held in Rawalpindi and other cities warning the government to abandon the idea which they considered against the Islamic posture of the country.

Meanwhile, leading cleric Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani wrote on Twitter that minorities in Muslim countries had the right to retain their places of worship or build new ones: “However, the government is not allowed to use [public] money to construct such a place,”

CII seeks time

The head of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology, a body that advises the government on religious issues, has said it will take four to six weeks to decide whether public funds could be used to build a new Hindu temple in the Pakistani capital. 
 “The government has asked the Council of Islamic Ideology if a new temple can be built using state funding,” CII chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz said in an interview, adding that the council’s research department was looking into the issue and could take weeks to share its findings with the council’s apex body, which would then approve it and pass on recommendations to the government.  “We are taking the matter quite seriously; we need to see and consult [Islamic references] so it may take us about four to six weeks to respond to the government’s query,” Ayaz added saying it a sensitive issue. 

ISLAMABAD: University students and members of various civil societies demonstrate outside Islamabad Press Club in favour of construction of Hindu temple in Islamabad.

PUC supports

The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) has extended support to the construction of a temple in Islamabad and criticised those who were making the issue controversial. “We denounce the controversy over construction of the temple. This [making it controversial] by extremist clerics is not correct. PUC will call a meeting and will also present its point of view to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),” said Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, the chairman of PUC.

Talking to media, Hafiz Ashrafi said the Constitution of Pakistan categorically defines the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims living in the country. “To have their own place of worship and offer a life as per their faith and tradition are the right given to all non-Muslims in the Constitution and as well as in Sharia,” he said, adding: “Those opposing the construction of the temple have an incorrect interpretation of Sharia.”

Noorul Haq Qadri

Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri on Wednesday, commenting on the construction of a Hindu temple in the capital, said that there was “no question” about its construction and the real issue was whether or not it could be built using public funds.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, he said there has been a lot of talk on the issue recently. “There is no need to debate on the rights of minorities as they are protected by the PTI government. The party’s manifesto calls for removing all obstructions in the implementation of constitutional provisions regarding the rights of minorities.”

Demo in favour

ISLAMABAD: University students and members of various civil societies demonstrate outside Islamabad Press Club in favour of construction of Hindu temple in Islamabad.

Demo against

LAHORE: Activists of Sunni Tehreek hold a protest outside Lahore Press Club against the proposed construction of temple in Islamabad from government fund.