ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a grant of Rs 100 million for the construction of the first Hindu temple in the federal capital.
Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri had requested the grant in a meeting with the Prime Minister.
The meeting with the Prime Minister was attended by a delegation of members of the National Assembly belonging to religious minorities, including Lal Chand Malhi, Dr Ramesh Wankuan, J. Prakash Ikrani, Shanila Ruth and James Thomas.
The delegation discussed issues facing minorities and appreciated the efforts of the civil and armed forces across the country to crack down on terrorist networks that were targeting people of other faiths as part of an extremist agenda.
The delegation sought the cooperation of the government for the construction of the first temple in the federal capital, which was verbally approved by the Prime Minister.
In addition, the Minister for Religious Affairs said that a summary in this regard has already been sent to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
“We will take up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and it is expected to be signed next week,” he said.
According to the official procedure, a copy of the approval will be sent to the Ministry of Finance for allocation of the grant amount while the construction work will be carried out through Pak-PWD (Public Works Department).
Lal Chand Malhi said that the Hindu population in Islamabad has reached close to 3,000, including a large number of government employees, private sector employees, members of the business community and doctors.
“As long as the official formalities are underway, we have decided to do the initial groundwork, including levelling the ground and erecting four walls,” he added.
The Hindu Panchayat Islamabad will take over the management of the Shri Krishna Temple, while Panchayat President Mahesh Chaudhry said that a large number of people from different parts of the country, including Sindh and Balochistan, have migrated to Islamabad.
“Now that our families are here, there is a need for a cremation ground, a place for collective worship and wedding ceremonies,” Chaudhry said.
“Right now we celebrate Diwali and Holi in the government’s community halls,” he added.
However, there will be a place for rituals for Hindus in the near future, but it is not possible to get married legally in Islamabad because even 3 years after the implementation of Hindu Marriage Law 2017, no official laws have been announced.