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Restore Demolished Temple, Demands HAF Letter to Pakistan
In the wake of Pakistan’s recent election to the UN Human Rights Council, a century-old Hindu temple was destroyed in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi. HAF formally wrote to the Pakistani government, imploring restoration of the temple.
According to multiple news reports, the Shri Rama Pir Mandir, along with several nearby homes in the predominantly Hindu Doli Khata neighborhood of Karachi, was demolished by a private developer with the support of the police and Pakistani Army Rangers. The developer’s actions rendered nearly 40 Hindu men, women, and children homeless, and reportedly resulted in the physical assault of a partially paralyzed Hindu man protecting the temple. Following the incident, the Pakistan Hindu Council, a representative body for the country’s Hindu minority, organized large-scale protests throughout Karachi.
"It's tragically ironic that a country that violates the human rights and religious freedom of its Hindu and other religious minorities with impunity is allowed to serve on such a prestigious international body as the United Nations Human Rights Council,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF’s Director and Senior Fellow for Human Rights. “The destruction of the Shri Rama Pir Mandir is only the latest example of Pakistan’s deplorable human rights record.”
The temple was destroyed despite a pending petition before the Sindh High Court requesting a stay on any attempts by the developer to demolish the temple. Furthermore, the Scheduled Caste Federation of Pakistan notes that the temple had previously been restored by the government itself in 2000, indicating that it was formally registered and accorded legal status.
Police officials, however, have completely denied the existence of any temple at the site, while the Military Lands and Cantonment Director has alleged that only homes were destroyed and that the temple was left untouched. These statements were in direct contrast to video footage and reports from human rights organizations, such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), confirming that the temple was in fact razed to the ground.
"Destroying Shri Rama Pir Mandir and displacing so many innocent Hindu families was an unjust and inhumane act, but denying that the temple was ever destroyed or even existed in the first place is beyond shameful,” said Jay Kansara, HAF’s Washington, D.C. based Associate Director. “Such statements coming from Pakistani officials only serve to further reinforce the inferior status of Hindus in Pakistan.”