Gesture By A Terroristic Neighbour
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has asked the Government to rebuild an old temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province that was demolished in 2019, soon. There have been a lot of controversies regarding this issue over the last six months. The Government of Pakistan had, initially, triggered the controversy in July 2020 by asking the Council of Islamic Ideology whether there were any religious issues with the reconstruction of the temple. Three cases had been filed in the High Court of Islamabad in the first week of July 2020. The petitioners, there, argued that the Government had no right to construct Hindu temples in an Islamic Nation, like Pakistan! They also argued that the Government should not use public funds for building the Temples! At the same time, various aspects of the issue of Minority Rights had also come up. Later, the Pakistani Supreme Court took up the case, as it involved the discussions and debates regarding Duties of the State. Hence, the recent judgment of the Supreme Court is so significant…
A majority of the Supreme Court Judges are of the opinion that demolition of the temple damaged the image of Pakistan at the Global Stage. Gulzar Ahmed, the Chief Justice of the Apex Court, stated that the South Asian Nation could restore its status only by ensuring the Security and Rights of the Minority Communities. The Chief Justice also ordered the Evacuee Trust Property Board – a statutory Board of the Government of Pakistan that administers Evacuee Properties, including Educational, Charitable or Religious trusts left behind by Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to India after Partition of the Subcontinent in 1947 – to strengthen the security of other temples across the country. Meanwhile, a number of Human Rights and Civil Society groups in Pakistan have strongly criticised Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (a Sunni Deobandi political party) for spreading hatred over this particular issue.
In Pakistan (just like India), the Government does not always abide by the Supreme Court’s directives. Although the Judiciary has asked the Government to reconstruct a temple, one should not forget that the number of Hindu temples has come down to 30 from more than 1,000 in the last seven decades! The Socio-Economic situation of the Minority Communities in Pakistan is widely condemned at home and abroad. In this context, the order of the Supreme Court draws a special attention. It’s nice to see that persons, like Chief Justice Ahmed, come forward to establish reason and intellect even in such a situation.
It may be noted that Chief Justice Ahmed went on to set an example of promoting Religious Tolerance at a time when in neighbouring India (the Largest Democracy in the World), the Government does not care about reconstructing a 493-year-old historic Mosque that was demolished in 1992. According to the mosque’s texts and inscription accompanying it, the Babri Masjid was built in 1528-29 by General Mir Baqi on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Babur. The mosque was attacked and demolished by a mob, led by Hindu Activists, in 1992. The incident ignited Communal Violence across the Indian Subcontinent. It seems that Islamabad is trying to send a message to New Delhi. One would definitely like to know what New Delhi is thinking after receiving the message…
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