200-year-old temple handed over to Hindu community


QUETTA: After 72 years, the authorities handed over the building of a 200-year-old temple to the Hindu community in Zhob on Friday. The temple was used as a government school for over 30 years but now the school has been shifted to another place.

The keys to the doors of the four-room temple building were handed over to the Hindu community leaders at a ceremony held outside the temple. The Khatib of the central mosque of Zhob and a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Maulana Allah Dad Kakar, was the chief guest at the ceremony, which was attended by Deputy Commissioner Saleem Taha, elders of Hindu and other minority communities and leaders of different political parties.

Maulana Kakar handed over the keys to the temple’s doors to Saleem Jan, chairman of the local Hindu Panchayat.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner Taha said: “It is an important and historical day for Balochistan, particularly Zhob.” He said that Maulana Kakar had not only supported the government decision to hand over the temple building to the Hindu community but also attended the ceremony as a chief guest. “This is a great example of religious harmony.”

The deputy commissioner apologised for 70-year delay in handing over the temple to the Hindu community and said that the temple building would be restored to its original condition.

After restoration and renovation of the building, members of the Hindu community would be able to use it as a place of worship.

Saleem Jan said that the temple was 200 years old and that after creation of Pakistan majority of the Hindu community people had migrated to India from Zhob, but still a sizeable number of them lived in the city.

He said that Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court Jamal Khan Mandokhel had recently visited Zhob and on that occasion the Hindu community had requested him to return the temple building to them. Justice Khan had assured the Hindu community that the building would be handed over to them.

He said that the local Sikh community had also been deprived of their gurdwara for a long time and they had no place to perform their religious rituals. The gurdwara building also housed a government school, he said.

He said that for the last 30 years the temple building had been used as a government school. “However, it is matter of happiness that around 600 students now have a new place for their school.”

Mr Jan said that presently the local Hindu community was using a mud-building as their place of worship, which could collapse anytime.

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