by Nayab T.
Thursday, July 09, 2020 at 03:47 PM
The Islamabad High Court reserved judgment on Monday on petitions against the construction of a temple in the federal capital. The court was informed that the government has referred the matter to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of lawyer Chaudhary Tanveer Akhtar’s petition and reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments in this matter.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) maintained before the court that the construction was stopped due to the lack of a building plan.
The court inquired of the CDA the location of the plot and its allotted purpose. According to the CDA urban planning director, the process of plot allotment in H9/2 began in 2016. The site was alloted to the Hindu community for the construction of a temple, community center, or a shamshan ghat (cremation ground), he said.
During the hearing, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) told the court that the plot was allotted after consultations from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Special Branch, and the Islamabad administration.
Justice Farooq asked whether the construction plan for the temple had been submitted for approval, to which the CDA replied in the negative.
In response, the deputy attorney general Raja Khalid Mehmood said that the petitioners are asking for Rs100 million but the government has not provided any funding as of yet.
"Thus, a good message is not being sent to the world. The constitution also allows non-Muslims to practice their religion," he added.
The petitioner, advocate Tanveer Akhtar, has pleaded in his petition to stop the construction of the new temple in Sector H-9. Therefore, the lawyer argued: “The land allotted for the construction of the temple be withdrawn, along with the funds allocated for the project.”
he counsel added that a temple already exists in Saidpur Village of the federal capital and the government could have renovated it. The land given for temple construction in H-9 is a violation of Islamabad’s master plan.
Tanveer stated in his petition that he came to know that CDA had allotted some portion of land for construction of a Hindu Temple in sector H-9 of Islamabad and now the government of Pakistan is going to raise the construction of the temple from the treasury of the government. The petition added that the public of Pakistan is suffering and the respondents are going to construct the Temple in a sensitive area.
Last week, the prime minister had approved a grant of Rs100 million (Dh2.18 million) for the construction of the first Hindu temple in the capital.
Leading cleric Mufti Taqi Usmani and chairman of the government’s Central Route Hilal Committee Mufti Muneebur Rehman have also opposed the construction of the temple at the government’s expense.
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