Islamabad, April 25: A Pakistani court on Monday allowed Hindus to worship at a Shiva temple in Abbottabad district which had been off limits to them for 20 years. Due to a property dispute, the temple had been closed for any religious activity.
A bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) headed by Justice Ateeq Hussain Shah has permitted Hindus living there to worship at the Shiv Jee temple of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under section 20 of the Constitution.
A Hindu Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) filed a petition in 2013 with the PHC Abbottabad bench that the former had purchased the property through lease by a legal owner. Also, the petitioner pleaded that after partition of sub-continent the NGO has been looking after the temple.
The petitioner and the head of the NGO Balmaik Sabha, Sham Lal, said that the temple was constructed 175 years ago. The British regime took over the temple and handed it over to Gurkha Rifles. The Hindu soldiers use to pray.
After partition in 1947, the Balmaik Sabha took over the charge of the temple and other property till 1960 when Cantonment Board Abbottabad (CBA) seized temple and all Hindu properties.
He said that eight years ago CBA granted permission to conduct prayers in the temple. Lal disclosed that in 2013 he filed a petition against the seizure of temple and Hindu properties by CBA.
Lal is a retired official of Pakistan Military Accounts (PMA) Abbottabad. His two family members are also working in PMA and rest of the family is residing in Abbottabad.