Peshawar: An ancient Hindu temple in this northwestern Pakistani city is being demolished secretly in the name of repair with a commercial plaza set to come up on its land.
The ancient Hindu temple located in Karimpura in Peshawar's old city is being demolished in the name of repairs, several inhabitants of the area said. They said the process started some 10 days and is going on without any hindrance.
"It is a pity that a criminal act of pulling down a heritage structure has been launched. The building is being knocked down clandestinely to erect a commercial plaza on the site," a resident said.
"There is no action from any of the government departments which are supposed to protect such buildings," the resident said.
Another resident said it was a double-criminal act. "On the one hand an ancient building is being demolished while on the other a commercial plaza is set to be constructed on its land in a purely residential area," he told The News.
Residents have questioned the silence of the relevant government departments over the entire episode. They deplored the inaction of government authorities in the wake of the the demolition of the heritage building. There is no action by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Auqaf Department dealing with the non-Muslim properties and the Archaeology Department -- the departments tasked with protecting such properties.
"Either these departments are a partner in the crime or they are negligent," a resident said. Demanding an immediate halt to the demolition process, the residents asked ETPB Chairman Saddique-ul-Farooq to order a probe into the issue to bring to justice the government officials whose negligence or tacit approval had put in danger the ancient Hindu temple.
The Civil Society members, in a statement, said this is a painful story in all major cities of Pakistan where speculative land mafia in collusion with lower-tier government officials and police get away with destroying Pakistan's precious heritage.
The government is reduced to being a silent spectator in this demolition, they said.