ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved judgement on Monday on petitions against the construction of a temple in the federal capital after it was informed that the government has referred the matter to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).
The case was heard before Justice Amir Farooq. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) maintained before the court that the construction was stopped due to the lack of a building plan.
The court inquired of the CDA the location of the plot and its allotted purpose. According to the CDA urban planning director, the process of plot allotment in H9/2 began in 2016. The site was alloted to the Hindu community for the construction of a temple, community centre or a shamshan ghat (cremation ground), he said.
The plot was alloted after consultation with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, special branch and the Islamabad administration, said the CDA official. Area for a graveyard for Christian, Baha’i, Qadiani and Buddhist communities has also been allotted near the plot in question, he added. Land area of 3.89 kanal was allotted in 2017 and handed over to the Hindu panchayat in 2018, he told the court.
Justice Farooq asked whether the construction plan for the temple had been submitted for approval, to which the CDA replied in the negative.
Deputy Attorney-General Raja Khalid Mehmood stated before the court that the petitioners are claiming Rs100 million but the government has not provided any funds as yet for the construction of the temple. He informed that the government has sought recommendations from the CII on the matter.
Mehmood argued that the Constitution of Pakistan allows for non-Muslims to build their places of worship. This case is sending a negative message to the world, he added.
The petitioners’ counsel argued that the approval for the temple and its funding are two separate issues. He claimed that the government can provide neither.
Justice Farooq observed that the government has referred the matter to the CII. He reserved judgement on the case after hearing arguments of the parties.