How is an Islamic place of worship more significant than that of another faith? This question has come to haunt Pakistan now more than ever before.
This week, the Hindu community staged a massive protest at the Karachi Press Club to save the remaining portion of a 100-year-old Mari Mata Temple in the old quarters of Soldier Bazar in Karachi. This time, a temple was easy prey for commercial gain as opposed to Islamist brutality.
The historic structure was attacked by land-grabbers at the behest of a builder who wants the land for a shopping mall. So far, a portion of the temple has been razed and a dozen Hindu clans that lived in its surrounding area have been forced to evacuate, to subsist under the open sky. This is not the first Hindu temple to be demolished in the metropolis; another Mari Mata Mandir was brought down last year in the name of commercialism.
The Pakistan Hindu Sabha is duly infuriated with the provincial government, the Ministry of Minority Affairs and above all, Sindh’s ruling party, the supposedly secular Pakistan Peoples Party. Each time push comes to shove, all their lofty claims of safeguarding tolerance and equality evaporate. Hence, the association is left with little choice other than organising mass protests and chalking out a strategy whereby their temple is restored, as are the homes in its area.
It is more than pertinent to mention that the Mata Mari Temple and its plot comes under the Evacuee Trust Protection Board and has existed along with the residents prior to Partition. For this reason, the Hindu families residing there for over 70 years should have ownership rights to their properties against a nominal fee.
There is little evidence to negate the idea that such religious insensitivity has only raised its hideous head after hardliners and madressas mushroomed across the landscape. It seems to have reached a crescendo following cries from popular leaders asking for a peace process with criminals rather than holding them accountable for bloodshed. Currently, activists and analysts see it as another pretext to generate religious apartheid.
Pakistan’s establishment has to recognize the crying need of the hour – to make an example of this criminal incident by hauling up perpetrators, initiating restoration and institutuionalising the most eminent of values – a country that celebrates God must recognize all that is human.
HariBhakt.com views: Globally Hindus should unite and collate all the evidences and mail them to UN, Human Rights Commission and other relevant authorities. Hindus should help their Hindu brothers and sisters in Pakistan.
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