LAHORE: Some members of Hindu and Sikh communities on Thursday criticised Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) President Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, saying the chief had tried to tarnish the image of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) after failing to become its chairman.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee President Sardar Satwant Singh, former President Bishan Singh and Hindu leader Manohar Chand held a joint press conference at Lahore Press Club and said that the ETPB is playing its practical role for protecting temples and gurdwaras, and arranging religious ceremonies across the country.
“We are very satisfied with the steps taken by the management of the board while some political elements are making false and baseless allegations against the board for their nefarious intentions. Vankwani is trying to impose his illegitimacy on the board in various ways and distorting relations with the country’s reputable institutions. His attitude and actions are by no means commendable. There is a fear of damage on the inter-religious harmony in the country,” they said.
The leaders added, “Vankwani’s real agenda was to become the chairman of ETPB. But, in order to run the affairs of the institution in a better and more transparent manner, the federal government appointed a chairman under the open merit policy. Since then, Vankwani has been trying to discredit the ETPB, which is performing in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for minorities, their religious places and ceremonies, and enhancing Pakistan’s reputation around the world. We request the prime minister to take immediate action against Vankwani.”
On the other hand, Vankwani, who is also the member of National Assembly, denied the allegations and said that he never wanted to become ETPB’s chairman but asked for a suitable candidate from Hindu community as all the properties under the board belong to Hindus and Sikhs.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Vankwani said that there is a mafia operating in the ETPB, who manages 1800 religious places and writes in reports that only 31 religious services are functional. “Now tell me which servant of the Hindu community will go against me. I have full command over my community. I always speak the truth. The fact that so many gurdwaras are closed is not discussed because everyone is in cahoots and whoever goes to complain is silenced by paying some money. I have said at every forum that the chairman of ETPB should be from Hindu community as all 1522 temples and 583 gurdwaras belong to Hindu and Sikh communities. Ishrat Hussain had approved the proposal to appoint a chairman from Hindu community but a year has passed and it has not been implemented. The mafia calls some four or five people, who have no role for the communities, to hold a press conference,” Vankwani added.