As per orders from Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Waqf department has embarked on the renovation of various temples and places of worship of religious minorities, said Waqf officials.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan is all set to open the Panj Tirth temple, an important Hindu place of worship in the northern city of Peshawar, to fulfill the long-standing dream of its minority Hindu population.
This is happening just weeks after India and Pakistan opened the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate the religious pilgrimage of Sikhs from India. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was widely hailed for his efforts to make the corridor a reality despite the disturbed ties between the two nations in the context of the Kashmir dispute.
The Waqf department of the provincial government in Pakistan has taken several steps to open the Panj Tirth Temple located in Hashtanagri area of the Peshawar, the regional capital. Earlier this year, the government declared this temple a national heritage site and handed it over to the Waqf department.
As of now, the land where this historical temple is set is a public park. The temple is believed constructed during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign. He ruled parts of northern India in the 19th Century.
With the opening of the temple, Hindus in Pakistan can fulfill their religious duty without any hassle. Earlier, they had to travel to India on a visa for the Panj Tirth yatra.
Officials at the Waqf department, who spoke to a Pakistani Urdu news portal, said that as per orders from Prime Minister Imran Khan, the department has embarked on the renovation of various temples and places of worship of religious minorities. The legal formalities have been completed and work on the Panj Tirth temple will start in a couple of months and it will then be opened for Hindus to perform religious practices, a report said.
Panj Tirth will become the second temple in the past one and a half years to be thrown open for worship in Pakistan. Earlier, the government opened the Shwala Teja Singh temple in Sialkot, a border city in Punjab. The government also opened two Sikh temples as well.
There are around 400 temples of Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan, which remain locked for decades following the bloody partition of the subcontinent in 1947. Many believe that opening of the temple can help promote communal harmony and religious tourism.
For the past two decades, Pakistan saw a rise in religious extremism, leading to bloody insurgency and military operations. Since 2015, the situation has improved significantly even as security risks continue to prevail.