KP chief minister asked to resolve Hindu shrine issue

File photoISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has asked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to amicably resolve a controversy over the rebuilding of a Hindu shrine in Teri village of Karak district.

“It is unfortunate that the religious-cum-political issue has created a law and order situation in the area,” Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said and directed KP Advocate General Abdul Lateef Yousufzai to contact the chief minister to get the issue resolved amicably.

Mr Yousufzai presented in the court a letter written by deputy commissioner of Karak to deputy secretary (judicial) of the provincial home department which traced the history of the dispute.

According to the letter, a Hindu shrine was constructed at a place where a holy man, Shri Param Hans Jee Maharaj, had died and was buried in 1919. His followers used to visit the place to pay their respects. This practice continued till 1997 when some Muslim extremists dismantled the shrine.

The land was allegedly occupied by a local influential man even though it belonged to Auqaf department

The land was allegedly occupied by a local influential man, Mufti Iftikharuddin, even though it belonged to Auqaf department.

Hindu leaders from Sindh intervened and paid Mufti Iftikhar Rs375,000 as cost of the land in 1997, but he did not vacate the property.

Former MPA Gian Chand tried to get the land vacated and even met then chief minister of the province to seek his support. Several meetings between ulema led by local notable Maulana Muhammad Sharif and Hindu elders from Sindh were held but Maulana Sharif was not ready to let the Hindus get their rights, the letter said.

On Feb 24, 2005 the-then Balochistan minister for minorities, Jay Prakash Seatani, along with Maulana Hassan Jan of Charsadda, visited Teri and held a meeting with local ulema. This was a kind of jirga sent by then chief minister to resolve the issue. It announced its verdict in public and allowed the Hindus to start repair and renovation work on the shrine.

The decision was not accepted by Maulana Sharif though the Auqaf department wanted to implement it. Former MNA Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz also jumped into the fray. He had the support of Khattat tribe which had warned of “action” if the shrine was built. Maulana Aziz was of the view that being a religious issue it could not be resolved through a jirga decision. Instead, the Auqaf department should constitute a committee of senior muftis and ulema, which should announce a decision.

Source: Dawn