Mastermind of Karak temple attack among 36 arrested: Interior Minister

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has taken strict notice of the vandalizing of a Hindu temple by a mob in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 36 suspects including the mastermind have been arrested.

In a statement on Twitter, the federal minister said that 36 people including the mastermind Maulana Sharif have been arrested for their involvement in the incident. He said all those involved in the incident will be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law and will be given an exemplary punishment.  

He said the protection of minorities is the responsibility of the state and no one has the right to violate the sanctity of a sacred place of worship whether they belong to any religious or political party. “The Karak temple incident was an attempt to defame Pakistan. Those responsible for it and the same ho were behind the EU DisinfoLab,” he said.

Yesterday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that the provincial government will rebuild the Hindu temple in Karak burned by a mob.

In a statement, the chief minister said the government will ensure the temple is rebuilt without delay and that the authorities concerned have already been issued directives for the purpose.

He reiterated to ensure the protection of sacred places of minorities at any cost. He added that those involved in incident have been apprehended and strict action will be taken against them. He warned that no one will be allowed to take law into their hands.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed has taken notice of the tragic incident and directed the KP chief secretary and the provincial police chief to submit a report in this regard by Monday, January 4. The chief justice showed grave concern over the tragic incident and has fixed it before a bench for hearing on January 5.

The incident occurred on Wednesday when a mob set the shrine of the Hindu saint on fire and demolished several parts in Teri area of Karak.  Several people led by some local elders of a religious party held a protest and demanded the removal of the Hindu place of worship. They raised slogans and attacked the shrine and also demolished an under-construction house owned by a member of the Hindu community.

The district police have arrested more than 31 suspects involved in the incident and have also registered a case against 350 people including JUI-F district leader Maulana Mirza Aqeem for their alleged involvement in the vandalising of the Hindu temple.