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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday reserved its verdict regarding construction of Hindu temple in the federal capital.

A single bench of Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of advocate Chaudhry Tanveer Akhtar, who has requested the court that the land allotted for the construction of the Hindu temple in Sector H-9 of Islamabad should be withdrawn along with the funds allocated for the project.

During the hearing, Director Urban Planning of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) informed the court that the plot was allotted after consultations with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Special Branch, and the Islamabad administration.

He also told the court that the work was stopped due to lack of building plan for the temple.

In response to a question, the deputy attorney general said the applicant (Hindu Panchayat) was asking for Rs100 million but the government had not provided any funding yet.

He added that the government had sought recommendations from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in this matter.

He continued that a good message was not being sent to the world in that regard, while the Constitution of Pakistan also allows non-Muslims to practice their religion.

Justice Aamer Farooq observed that the matter had been referred to the CII by the government.

He, therefore, after hearing the arguments of all the parties, reserved the judgment.

It is the contention of the petitioner 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.

He maintained that the master plan of Islamabad should be implemented, and a restraining order should be issued against the construction of the temple.

He said that in Sector H-9, the government did not announce funds for a mosque but released funds for the construction of the temple.

The petitioner has adopted that the state is responsible to provide for the health, education and justice for the public but this directive on the part of the respondents has raised a lot of questions.

"The district judiciary Islamabad is functioning in rented premises since long ago, [the] government has failed to provide the facility of construction of [a] judicial complex and [the] public is suffering from one door to the other," the petition maintains.

The petition added that the public of Pakistan were suffering and the respondents were going to construct the temple in a sensitive area.

He argued that the respondents were committing an illegal and wrong act as the Sector H-9 was acquired by the CDA, and as per the master plan of the CDA there is no existing provision for construction of a temple in that sector.

He added that it was necessary to mention here that the H-9 Sector was acquired from Muslim community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020