Muhammad Zubair Shahid
Prime minister Imran Khan approved the grant of PKR-100million for the construction Shri Krishna Temple in the capital city Islamabad. The project was approved back in 2017 by then Premier Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, reliever of funds was delayed due to administrative hurdles. Approximately 3,000 Hindus are dwelling in Islamabad, most of them have migrated from interior Sindh, Baluchistan and Southern Punjab for various reasons, (Jobs, better future prospects, deteriorating law and order situation in remote area of Sindh and Baluchistan).With this recent development there is an ongoing debate, triggered on social media between masses in the county, unfortunately most comments and posts I have witnessed are against this project, and people have announced their verdict “that construction of Hindu temple is anti-Islam and its conspiracy against the ideology of Pakistan”.
Since independence non-Muslim Pakistanis along with the Muslim Pakistanis countrymen shouldered the responsibility in building of Pakistan, more than 4% of population comprises of minorities. White color in our national flag represents the minorities. Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said during a speech in Constituent Assembly dated 11th, August,1947 “You are free, you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State”. Pakistan’s constitution safeguards the rights of minorities and ensures the safety of their lives, property self-respect and equal opportunities. In Pakistan minorities enjoy the equal rights and opportunities. Minorities are free to actively participate in all walks of life. Honorable Justice Rana Bhagvan Daas remained the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the highest position in judiciary, Christian Hindu and Sikh Pakistanis have joined commissioned ranks in armed forces of Pakistan, and many hold senior positions in coveted civil service of Pakistan. Non-Muslim Pakistanis have actively contributed in defending the motherland during the wars fought against India, and laid their lives in the line of duty.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the greatest lawgiver in the history of mankind, Medina was the first Islamic state in the world and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “was unanimously accepted as head of state by tribal elders of Medina. Prior to arrival of Prophet (PBUH) in Medina there were ongoing conflicts mainly between Arabs and Jews, state of unrest and anarchy which continued from one generation to another. Since both nations had different religions, believes, values, customs & traditions it was impossible to govern them without certain set of rules, which became the foundation of “Constitution of Medina”. One of the prominent covenants of “Constitution of Medina” was the “Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs”. Islam advocates the fundamental rights of minorities, they are free to practice their religion, customs and traditions. It is duty of state to ensure they have equal rights and opportunities and are not exploited in the name of religion.They are protected by all kind of violation and aggression.
On 30th June 2020 a writ petition has been moved before Honorable Islamabad High Court against the construction of temple in H9 sector, the claimant stated that state is responsible for providing health, education and justice to public, but this temple will be constructed from the government treasury, he further added that this land was acquired from Muslim community and construction of this temple is not included in the master plan of H-9. As per petitioner government is committing an illegal and wrong act, which can have very serious consequences. Since the petition in the in the honorable court and decision is pending, hence it is not wise to comment on it. The construction of temple is neither illegal nor against the Islamic laws. As government is funding the construction of temple from public treasury, it must be made clarified that using public funds for such building is permeable by the law and is the preview of the federal government. This is not unprecedented government of Pakistan earlier contributed in the construction of Kartarpur Gurdwara, which was made operational for Sikh pilgrims in November last year.
The Writer is a qualified accountant ACMA and CGMA from The Chartered Institute Of Management Accountants London UK.