A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against the perpetrators of the attack on a Hindu temple in Distric Karak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) on Wednesday. Two local clerics belonging to Jamiat Ulema-e Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Maulvi Mohammed Sharif and Hafiz Faizullah, have also been nominated for inciting violence, attacking and vandalizing the Hindu Terri Temple and Samadhi Tomb.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on Thursday, took notice of the matter and has called a court hearing on January 5, 2021.
A mob, led by the clerics, destroyed the temple yesterday as police officers remained spectators. The mob claimed that the Hindu community was violating the Supreme Court’s decision on halting the extension of temple. However, the Hindu community maintains that it had sought prior permission for expansion from local administration.
Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani claims that the attack on the temple was in violation of the Supreme Court’s judgement.
Talking to media, he said that Terri Temple was demolished by a Malauna Sharif led mob, associated with Maulana Sami ul Haq group, in 1997. He emphasised that the affected Terri Temple is one of four largest holy sites for Hindu community in Pakistan.
“This temple was restored as a result of June 19, 2014 judgement by the Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, honorable Tassadaq Hussain Jillani,” he said, adding that the temple was restored during the tenure of honorable Chief Justice Jawad S Khawaja.
Showing showing extreme anger on the attack, he called a protest demonstration outside Supreme Court Karachi Registry on Thursday.
“Maulana Sharif led elements were not serious about solving the issue but they had to accept the Supreme Court decision,” Dr Ramesh, who is also a prominent parliamentarian, stated. He further said that few days back on December 27, the local extremist elements gathered in a meeting to finalize the plan of attack.
Prior intelligence of attack
“I received information through some reliable sources that extremists are planning to attack the temple on December 30,” Dr Ramesh told the media. “On December 28, we approached to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Karak,” stated Dr Ramesh, who is also active member of One Man Commission constituted by the Supreme Court.
The DC Karak informed that he had already received such information from intelligence, so proper arrangement for necessary action is already in process. Dr Ramesh claimed that the DC assured that nobody would be allowed to damage the temple. According to him, the DC and District Police Officer (DPO) both complicit for their inaction.
Dr Ramesh regretted that nobody from police and law enforcement agencies was there to protect the holy site. “The temple is reportedly demolished and Samadhi was put under fire,” he stated.
“Being Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, this is my demand to arrest Maulana Sharif and all culprits, and book them under the Blasphemy laws (295C),” Dr Ramesh Kumar demanded. “Otherwise I am facing too much pressure from my community to call a protest demonstration outside Supreme Court, Karachi Registry because this temple was restored by the Supreme Court.”
Dr Ramesh was of the view that on international level, Pakistan is already facing pressure in terms of religious freedom and minorities’ rights, therefore such acts of extremism must be curbed at any cost. He said that it is democratic right of patriotic Hindu community across the country to record peaceful protest against this injustice.
Officials condemn incident
KPK Chief Minister took notice of the incident and expressed regret.
“Those involved in the heinous act should be punished and brought to justice.” he said. “Protection of minorities and their religious sites is a priority of the KP government.”
Parliamentary Secretary Human Rights Lal Chand also condemned the attack on a Hindu temple in Karak. In an official message, he said that some miscreants wants to defame Pakistan. “I have talked to district administration of Karak to find the culprits and punish them,” he said.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari also condemned the incident.
“KP government must ensure culprits [are] brought to justice. Ministry of Human Rights [is] also moving on this,” she said. “We as a government have a responsibility to ensure safety [and] security of all our citizens [and] their places of worship.”
The Terri Temple in Karak has existed since 1994. It was first decimated in 1997, when Taliban began emerging in the area. In 2014, through a Supreme Court ruling, Justice Jawad S Khawaja ordered the reconstruction of the temple.
In 2018, the Hindu community expressed interest in expanding the temple compound. Two years later, the local Karak administration issued permits to the Hindu community to carry out the expansion.