A Pakistani court on 24 April 2017 passed a ruling that allowed Hindus to worship at a Shiva temple in Abbottabad district, which had been made off limits to them for almost 20 years.
The decision was taken by a bench of judges from the Peshawar High Court (PHC) led by Justice Ateeq Hussain Shah. The bench in its final ruling gave permission to the Hindus to offer their prayers at the temple under section 20 of the Constitution.
The temple had been closed for any kind of religious activity due to a property dispute.
• A Hindu NGO Balmaik Sabha had filed a petition with the PHC Abbottabad bench in 2013, in which they stated that they had purchased the property through lease by the legal owner.
• The petitioner also argued that after India’s partition, the NGO had been looking after the temple.
• The petitioner along with the head of the NGO, Sham Lal stated that the temple was constructed 175 years ago.
• According to them, the British regime took over the temple and handed it over to the Gurkha Rifles. It was the place of worship for the Hindu soldiers.
• Post partition in 1947, the Balmaik Sabha took over the charge of the temple and its other properties until it was seized from them in 1960 by the Cantonment Board Abbottabad (CBA).
• Eight years ago, the CBA granted permission to the Hindus to conduct prayers in the temple.
Further, Sham Lal revealed that he had filed a petition against the seizure of temple and Hindu properties by CBA in 2013. Lal is a retired official who used to work in the Pakistan Military Accounts (PMA) in Abbottabad. His currently lives in Abbottabad with his family.
Who: Pakistani High Court