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Sikh temple to open in Peshawar after 300 years

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sikh temple reopens, devotees to worship

March 30, 2016, PESHAWAR (Pakistan): Almost three hundred years old Sikh temple reopens. It was located in Jogiwara Street of Hashtnagri, an ancient residential area of Peshawar city, was reopened for worship on Wednesday.

The temple was reopened during a ceremony wherein Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddique-ul-Farooq was chief guest. The ceremony was also addressed by Adviser to Chief Minister on Minorities Sardar Suran Singh and leaders of Sikh community Sahib Singh and Bishan Singh.

The representatives of Sikh community, local elders and civil society members were also present on the occasion.

Mr Farooq pledged to provide Rs1million for look after of the temple while Sardar Suran Singh announced Rs 3 million for the purpose.

“Our religion Islam guarantees protection of worship places of different religions,” said Mr Farooq. He added that reopening of the temple proved that Muslims always believed in interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.

He approved crematorium for Sikh community in Hassanabdal and construction of 1,000 rooms in the living quarters in four cities across the country.

“I announce Rs3 million from provincial government and will extend full support to meet demands of the community,” Sardar Suran Singh said and added the credit for reopening of the temple went to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud, police officials and Muslims reconciliatory committee.

He said that reopening of the temple would not cause hurdle in movement of the people in the area and both Muslim and Sikhs would live peacefully. “We have assured the local residents in an agreement that they will have no problems with reopening of the worship place,” Suran Singh told Dawn.

Earlier, Sahib Singh demanded foolproof security, appointment of caretakers, reasonable maintenance funds, power generator and construction of toilets for the temple.

He said that Muslims, especially Khwaja Mohammad Akbar Sethi, Haji Ibrahim Khan, Haji Anwar Baba and Khurram Pervez, played effective role in renovation of the temple.

Although there is no authentic information about the history of the construction of the building and the date of its closure, yet Sikh elders said that it had been closed about 70 years ago when Sikh and Muslim communities developed some serious differences before partition.

According to an official source the temple was closed down before creation of Pakistan due a dispute between Sikhs and Muslims. A member of each community was killed in the dispute, he said.

A joint jirga of Muslims and Sikhs led by the deputy commissioner managed to resolve the dispute and paved way for reopening of the temple after necessary renovation.

The sources said that according to the agreement, a wall would be constructed near the temple to ensure privacy of the adjacent girls’ school. Another wall will also be constructed on the roof of the temple to ensure privacy of the local people residing in the area. The local people will not raise objections to Sikhs observing rituals in the temple in future.

Some representatives of Sikh community including Manjeet Singh, Reshpal Singh and Darshan Singh expressed pleasure over reopening of the temple and described it a good omen for the community. Credits- DAWN

Next Story

In Pakistan, Hindus don’t get even a ‘Crematorium:’ Will you believe that?

There are a lot of Hindu family residing all over Pakistan and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area

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Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
  • Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices
  • As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence
  • Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan

Death is said to be a great leveller. But the tragedy struck to some section of society in Muslim-dominated Pakistan is altogether different.

Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices. People who can’t even afford to travel, they have no option but to bury the mortal remains of their near and dear ones.

As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence. But with the passage of time, they vanished in the thin air of the terror-torn nation. Even in areas lying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where about 35,000 Hindus and Sikhs live, the cremation grounds are also rare.

Also Read: Today’s Social Issues and their Answers to Children

The law of the land is non-existent for the minorities communities like Hindu’s and Sikh’s. Without taking no-objection certificate, people from these communities can’t move an inch even. The grief-stricken families have to wait for the clearances, as they are left with no other option.

People are forced to travel long distances to cremate their relatives from the areas like Swat Bannu, Kohat, Malakand etc. The cost to travel such long distances ranges from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 and on the top of it, the fear of robbery during these travels cannot be ruled out. Not all the Hindu families can afford to perform the last rites in the manner they want.

Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan. The minority communities are compelled to bury the dead because cremation grounds are vanishing fast in Pakistan.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons
Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons

Although, the administration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has allowed the minorities communities to perform cremation near temples. But most of the temples are built on the agricultural lands and commercial areas, which have already been encroached upon by land mafia.

There are a lot of Hindu family residing in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long.


After much of the protests, finally, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has started building the facility from the chief minister’s fund, as per some government sources.

There are almost 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in Peshawar. And unfortunately, due to lack of proper facilities, people over there are also facing the same situation what others are facing in areas like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Also Read: 7 new-age social issues in India that need a check

To expect some kind of generosity from the war-torn state like Pakistan is out of the way. Instead of spending extravagantly on the military expansion, Pakistan should come forward and full-fill the basic amenities for the citizen of its country. It’s the people who make the country and not the other way round.