Amnesty International Urges Pakistan To Allow Construction Of Hindu Temple In Islamabad After Halt

Omar Waraich, Head of South Asia at Amnesty International, also urged Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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Amnesty International has pressed Pakistan to allow the construction of a Hindu temple in the capital Islamabad, that was stopped amid opposition from political and religious groups.

“Everyone has a right to freedom of religion or belief, a right that is guaranteed in Pakistan’s constitution and its international obligations,” the London-based human rights NGO tweeted.

Discontinuing the construction of the Hindu temple “is an unconscionable act of bigotry that must be reversed immediately,” it added.

Omar Waraich, Head of South Asia at Amnesty International, also urged the Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow the construction of the temple and protect the minorities he vowed to protect.

The PML-N government of Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif endorsed plans in 2017 to construct Islamabad’s first Hindu temple, along with a crematorium, a community hall, and parking spaces.

The PTI government of the current prime minister, Imran Khan, earlier last month, approved a grant of Rs100 million (approximately $600,000) for the construction of the Shri Krishna Mandir temple. Yet, some Muslim clerics and politicians, including the chief of the PML-Q party, an ally of Imran Khan, said they strongly opposed the move.

A Pakistani Hindu woman shows her Pakistani passport. (illustrative photo)

Last week, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) stopped construction of the boundary wall at the site, remarking it did not have an approved building plan. The measure came after part of the wall was reportedly demolished by fundamentalists resistant to the project.

The authorities later said they were seeking advice from the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a body of Islamic scholars, on whether state capital could be used for the construction of the temple.

Mainly Muslim Pakistan is home to approximately 8 million Hindus, including some 3,000 in Islamabad. Hindus in Pakistan are primarily concentrated in Sindh, where the majority of Hindu enclaves are found in Pakistan.

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