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Pakistan to reopen closed Hindu temples

According to a report in ‘Radio Pakistan’, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf’s spokesperson Ahmad Jawad gave this information while releasing the details of 10 achievements of the government.

There has been a long-standing demand from the Hindu community in the country to reopen these temples. Agreeing with the demand, the government has decided to open these temples, Jawad said in a statement.

The 10 achievements mentioned by Jawad in the statement include a decline in the deficit of Pakistan International Airlines and 11 new electricity production projects.

Pakistan’s federal government has decided to reopen Hindu temples across the country in phases, fulfilling the longstanding demand of the minority Hindus that their places of worship be restored to them. When most Hindus left Pakistan during Partition, many temples were lost to encroachment; even in places where some Hindu families stayed back, local strongmen muscled in and occupied temple land. Many temple complexes ended up being used as a common facility and some even became madrassas.

Now the Pakistan government wants to reclaim temples and hand them over to the Hindu community. The government has decided to reclaim and restore 400 temples to the Hindu citizens of Pakistan.

The process will begin with two historic shrines in Sialkot and Peshawar. Sialkot has a functioning Jagannath Temple and now the 1,000-year-old Shivalaya Teja Singh is set to be restored. Hindus had stopped visiting the shivalaya (shawala) after a mob attack during Babri mosque demolition protests in 1992. In Peshawar, the Pakistani courts had ordered reopening of the Gorakhnath Temple and it’s been declared a heritage site.

Pakistan recently agreed to open the Kartarpur Sahib corridor to facilitate pilgrimage to Guru Nanak’s birthplace from Punjab on the Indian side. The Pakistan government has also approved a proposal to establish a corridor that will allow Hindu pilgrims to visit Sharda Peeth, an ancient Saraswati temple in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

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