Court orders government to start reconstruction of Hindu temple in Karak

Court orders government to start reconstruction of Hindu temple in Karak

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) to start the reconstruction of a century-old temple of a Hindu saint in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which was damaged by a mob in December.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed also directed the board to submit details of all functional and non-functional temples and gurdwaras across the country.

Earlier, the apex court had taken notice of the attack on the temple and ordered the KP chief secretary and the inspector general (IG) as well as Dr Shoaib Suddle, the head of a commission on minorities' rights, to visit the site and submit a comprehensive report by Jan 4.

The temple was attacked by a large mob after local religious leaders demanded the removal of the temple.

Justice Ahmed remarked that the Karak incident had caused "international embarrassment to Pakistan".

Dr Suddle informed the court that the KP EPTB did not protect the shrine.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned the inspector general on how the incident could have happened when there was a police check post next to the shrine.

The official informed the Apex Court that 109 people involved in the vandalism were under arrest while 92 police officials, including the superintendent of police (SP) and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) who were on duty at the time, were suspended.

A day earlier, the Shoaib Suddle commission in its report placed before the Supreme Court highlighted that the devastating action by miscreants on Dec 30 in the presence of police not only hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community in particular and the minority communities in general but also brought shame to Pakistan by tarnishing the country’s image at the international level.