ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ordered the Punjab government to hand over the control of Katas Raj temple to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
While hearing a case on the rights of minorities in Pakistan, the top court has given Punjab government two weeks to implement the order. The bench expressed displeasure at the Punjab chief secretary for not appearing in the case. Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that the chief secretary has neither come himself nor has he implemented court orders
The court was informed that the secretary had a meeting and could not appear before the court. Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was displeased and asked why officials always hold meetings when they are supposed in courts.
The top judge said that the chief secretary has done nothing except for writing a letter on the Prahlad temple issue. He said the court has instructed the authorities to provide security to the temple so people can celebrate the festival of Holi. He asked if the Punjab government is following the orders.
Punjab Additional Advocate-General Faisal Chaudhry said that Hindus will celebrate Holi on March 26. He said the opposition parties will hold their long march on the same day and it will become difficult to provide security to the temple.
Chaudhry said that the temple’s walls are weak and may collapse anytime. The government should be given time to rebuild the temple’s walls, he told the court.
The chief justice asked if money has been recovered from the men who vandalised the Krishna Dwara temple in Karak area of Khyber Pakktunkhwa on December 30, 2020.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that a video is available showing a mob attacking the temple. He said to identify the men in the video and they should pay for the destruction caused.
KP attorney-general said that they are currently deciding on the amount people will be asked to pay. The suspects will be issued notices after that, he added.