KARACHI, PAKISTAN, December 19, 2013 (Outlook India): A large number of Pakistani Hindus today joined a protest outside the Press Club here over the demolition of an 80-year-old temple in the city's Soldier Bazar area. The Krishna or Rama Peer Mandir at Dholi Khata in Soldier Bazar has become a bone of contention between the minority Hindu community and a powerful builder, who bought the land on which the temple was built from the military estate office through a government auction.
"Religious articles, including pictures and statuettes of our gods, are still lying in the rubble of the demolished temple and families living in the compound on which the temple was built still remain homeless," Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, told PTI.
"The departments responsible for this gross injustice are the military estate office and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), who auctioned off the land to a powerful builder without caring about our sentiments," said Vankwani.
An ETPB official, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed the temple was illegally built on military land that had been auctioned. The temple was legally razed on the orders of a court, he said. But Vankwani insisted that maps with the ETPB showed the temple was present on the plot even before Partition.
The 1998 census - the last official population count - placed Pakistan's Hindu population at 2.5 million.