A security official and members of the Hindu community stand inside a temple that was attacked. — Reuters/File
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court summoned on Wednesday the Sindh police chief over complaints about attacks on Hindu temples in the province.
The issue was raised before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk by PML-N MNA from Tharparkar Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.
The Sindh police chief is required to appear before the court on March 11.
The court issued the summons during the hearing of a matter relating to implementation of its June 19 directives on minorities’ rights and protection.
Criticising the Sindh government for its failure to protect the Hindu community, Dr Kumar informed the court that Makli Mata temple in Makli district had been attacked three days ago and Radha temple in Mirpurkhas and Krishna temple in Hyderabad two weeks ago.
Referring to the submission of a proposed draft on the Hindu Marriage Registration Bill to the federal cabinet for approval, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sohail Mehmood informed the court that the cabinet division had moved a summary requesting the prime minister to consider exempting the requirement of seeking cabinet’s approval and directly place the law before parliament for approval.
At the last hearing on Jan 13, the apex court had ordered the federal government to ensure that the proposed draft was submitted to the cabinet in two weeks for approval.
The court asked the DAG to ensure that a report on the progress on behalf of the federal government was submitted in a week.
Dr Kumar regretted that a Hindu couple had no official document to establish that they were married to each other. It creates a lot of problems for them, especially when they want to go abroad.
Additional Advocate General of Punjab Razzaq A. Mirza submitted to the apex court a report, stating that police had been deployed at places of worship of minorities in the province. The deployment is calibrated according to the number of people in a gathering, an occasion or event, along with other security measures in coordination with law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. The report said the deployment of police and security agencies would be increased gradually, besides ensuring adequate security measures during Sunday services.
It said that during a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Feb 5, the representatives of minorities, including Dr Kumar, had expressed satisfaction over the provincial government’s efforts as well as assurances that minority candidates were free to compete for the government posts in addition to the five per cent quota on government jobs.
Later, Dr Kumar told reporters that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had arranged his visit to the Samadhi of Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj in Karak district where clerics had promised to play their role in handing over the premises back to the Hindu community.
Referring to a meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on minorities’ issues, he said Balochistan was the only province which had taken practical steps for the protection of minorities in line with the Supreme Court’s directives. He said the provincial government had assured the Pakistan Hindu Council of its cooperation in providing security and registering temples.