An ancient Hindu temple in this northwestern Pakistani city is being demolished secretly in the name of repair with a commercial plaza set to come up on its land. The process began 10 days ago and is going on without any hindrance.
“It is a pity that a criminal act of pulling down a heritage structure has been launched. The building is being knocked down clandestinely to erect a commercial plaza on the site. There is no action from any of the government departments which are supposed to protect such buildings”.- A local resident
Another resident said it was a double-criminal act. “On the one hand an ancient building is being demolished while on the other a commercial plaza is set to be constructed on its land in a purely residential area,” he told The News.
Residents questioned the silence of government departments on the episode. They also deplored the inaction of authorities. There has been no action by the Evacuee Trust Property Board and Auqaf Department, which deal with non-Muslim properties, and the Archaeology Department.
“Either these departments are a partner in the crime or they are negligent,” a resident said. Demanding an immediate halt to the demolition process, the residents asked ETPB Chairman Saddique-ul-Farooq to order a probe into the issue to bring to justice the government officials whose negligence or tacit approval had put in danger the ancient Hindu temple.
The Civil Society members, in a statement, said this is a painful story in all major cities of Pakistan where speculative land mafia in collusion with lower-tier government officials and police get away with destroying Pakistan’s precious heritage. The government is reduced to being a silent spectator in this demolition, they said.