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On Pakistan’s National Minorities Day, Islamabad’s Hindus likely to get a place to pray

Capital Development Authority records mention the centuries-old temple had a Dharamshala which was converted into a public toilet after renovation

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(Representational Image) Temple in Saidpur. Image Source: flickr.com
  • Capital Development Authority records mention the centuries-old temple in Saidpur  had a Dharamshala, which was converted into a public toilet after the renovation
  • The Rama Mandir in Saidpur village was built by Raja Mann Singh in the 1580s
  • The Hindu residents of Islamabad have to go all the way to Rawalpindi to offer their prayers even though there is a temple turned tourist site in Saidpur village

On National Minorities Day in Pakistan, which is on August 11, Hindus in Islamabad might get a place to pray, if the campaign to revive an abandoned Hindu Temple works out well. Pakistan celebrates The National Minorities Day to highlight the contribution and services made by the minority communities towards the growth of the nation.

The Hindu residents of Islamabad have to go all the way to Rawalpindi to offer their prayers even though there is a temple turned tourist site in Saidpur village. They are now planning to revive the temple so that the 850 Hindus living in the city can have a place for religious gatherings, mentioned the indiatoday.in reports.

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The Rama Mandir in Saidpur village was built by Raja Mann Singh in the 1580s. During that time, Saidpur had a significant Hindu population and after the partition in 1947, many left the place and the temple fell into disuse. Later, they were barred from performing religious rituals in the temple.

Capital Development Authority records mention the centuries-old temple had a Dharamshala, which was converted into a public toilet after the renovation. The carvings of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi and Kali in the walls were painted over by the CDA in 2006, mentioned the indiatoday.in reports.

Image Source: indiatoday.intoday.in
Representational Pic. Image Source: indiatoday.in

According to the Express Tribune reports, “the sanctity of the holy place will be restored and Hindu families living in Islamabad will finally have a place to pray,” said PTI lawmaker Lal Chand Malhi, who is leading the campaign. He also added, “First, we will try to force the government and its departments to allow us to make the temple operational. If no response is received, community members, political parties and civil society will open it for prayers.”

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Letters requesting the revival of the temple is likely to be written to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan. Apart from that, the issue will also be addressed to Islamabad Mayor Ansar Aziz, who is the custodian of the site, on August 11.

Islamabad Mayor said to the indiatoday.in, he is ready to support the request once he receives it. He also adds that he will be more than happy to help Hindus living in Islamabad to get access to the temple.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)