The only Hindu temple in the Pakistani city of Lahore has been demolished to pave the way for construction of a multi-storied commerical building.
The temple was recently demolished after officials of the Evacuee Property Trust Board, the government body maintaining properties of minorities, specially Hindus and Sikhs, reportedly concealed facts from the board chairman about the nature of the building, daily Dawn reported on Tuesday.
A private developer was allowed to demolish 'Krishna Mandir' at Wachhoowali, Rang Mahal and raise a commercial building in its place in violation of the EPTB's own scheme for management and disposal of urban evacuee trust properties, it said.
Quoting documents, the paper said board officials did not mention that the property being given to an influential jeweller of the area, was a Hindu temple.
Had the officials indicated in the correspondence with the chairman that the property was a Hindu temple, he might have rejected the request for its transfer to the jeweller-developer for the construction of a four-storey commercial building, an EPTB official was quoted as saying.
The demolition was objected to by several opposition members of the National Assembly like Pakistan Peoples Party, and Pakistan Muslim League-N, who reportedly moved a motion against the demolition, saying such an act could have a bearing on Pakistan's relations with neighbouring countries.
The demolished Krishna temple was the only Hindu place of worship in the city. This is the second Hindu temple to have been permitted to be demolished by EPTB administrator Chaudhry Javed Bashir, sources in the EPTB said.
He had permitted demolition of a temple at Vehari in Punjab province last year for construction of a commercial building. Demolition of temples would only disparage the reputation of the country in the comity of nations as an anti-minority state, the sources said.
The EPTB Scheme for Management and Disposal of Urban Evacuee Trust Properties, 1977, categorically prohibits the sale or demolition of an evacuee trust property that is part of appurtenance to a shrine, a religious place or a building of historical or architectural importance.