SC adjourns hearing of suo moto notice regarding burning of Hindu Temple in Karak

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of a suo moto notice case regarding burning of a Hindu Temple in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for two weeks.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, the court also directed the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to submit report on Temples and Gurdwaras across the country.

The court directed ETPB to submit report on functional and non functional Temples and Gurdwaras.

The court also ordered for action against the ETPB officials involved in facilitating land grabbing of protected properties.

The court sought details regarding the number of pending cases against ETPB properties.

The court also directed the Chairman ETPB to immediately visit the site of the destroyed Hindu temple in Karak and began its reconstruction.

Chairman Minority Commission Shoaib Suddle said that the K-P ETPB failed to protect the temple site. He said that the incident brought disrepute to the whole country.

Justice Ijaz asked the Inspector General of Police KP how the incident occurred despite a police picket being located close to the temple.

He asked what law enforcement agencies were doing when a huge number of people gathered.

The IGP replied that a Superintendent of Police and a Deputy Superintendent of Police along with 92 officers had been suspended and a case would be filed against the police officers.

He said that around 109 people involved in the attack were also arrested.

The IG KPK said that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan had a gathering at the venue, sponsored by Maulana Faizullah. Out of 6 Ulema, only Maulvi Sharif incited to protest, he added.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that it was duty of the police to enforce the law. Suspension of police officials was not enough as they would continue to receive their salaries, he added.

He remarked that the incident brought shame to the entire country as pictures of the incident were circulating on social media around the world.

Patron of Pakistan Hindu Council and Member National Assembly Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said that his community held two major festivals in the temple. About 400 people visited the temple in a month, he added.

He said that Maulvi Sharif had also demolished the temple in 1997. He said that the ETPB had not restored the temple despite the apex court order. The Hindu Council got the temple restored after paying Rs40 million, he added.

He alleged that there was a lot of corruption in K-P’s ETPB. In 1947, Liaquat Ali Khan and Nehru had signed an agreement regarding the evacuee properties,” he claimed.

He claimed that according to the agreement in Pakistan a Hindu would be appointed as chairman of the board, whereas in India, a Muslim would be appointed as the chairman.

He said that the chairman of the ETPB in India has been a Muslim since 1947.

Upon this the Chief Justice asked Vankwani to produce the document as a verbal mention of the agreement would not work.

He said that the government’s writ should be maintained. This had all been done by Maulvi Sharif and he (Maulvi Sharif) would  be out of jail after securing bail in a few days.

The Chief Secretary KP said that a fresh contingent comprising 100 police personnel being deployed at the temple, and the restoration work of the temple beginning immediately, at the government’s expense.

However, the Chief Justice asked the chief secretary to recover the money from Maulvi Sharif and his gang. They would do the same thing again until they were made to pay up for the damage from their pockets.

The apex bench ordered all reports regarding the case to be submitted within two weeks and adjourned the hearing.