Hindu American Foundation Condemns Destruction of Last Hindu Temple in Lahore, Pakistan

Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2006) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) bemoaned the destruction of the last Hindu temple in Lahore, Pakistan. At the time of the partition of India in 1947 Lahore was known as one of the centers of culture and cosmopolitanism. Soon thereafter its great artists, musicians, and its Hindu and Sikh populations either moved voluntarily out of that city or were driven out by the fundamentalist Muslim forces that have shaped the country since then. “The last stroke in making Lahore totally Muslim is the demolition of the only remaining Hindu temple in the city”, said Ramesh Rao, member of the HAF Executive Council.

A private developer was allowed to demolish the ‘Krishna Mandir’ at Wachhoowali, Rang Mahal, and construct a commercial building in its place. Government officials, in charge of protecting minority interests, were involved in the machinations that led to the destruction of the last Hindu temple in Lahore. The Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB), the government body maintaining properties of minorities, especially Hindus and Sikhs, was said to have concealed facts from the municipal board chairman about the nature of the building. This is not the first time the EPTB has permitted the demolition of a temple. It was only last year that the Vehari temple in Punjab was razed for the construction of a commercial building.

These acts of connivance of local authorities in the destruction of non-Muslim religious symbols and in harassing minority groups are in the established tradition of driving minorities out of Pakistan. The Hindu population in Pakistan, which was between 15 and 24 percent in 1947, at the time of partition of India, has now been reduced to less than two percent. “While we applaud the condemnation by several opposition members of the National Assembly like Pakistan People's Party, and Pakistan Muslim League-N, we realize that the political, social, and religious dynamic in Pakistan allows such attacks on minorities and minority institutions with impunity,” said Dr. Mihir Meghani, President of HAF. “Unless there is worldwide condemnation of this act of destruction, and arrest and imprisonment of officials involved in the matter, there is no hope for minorities in Pakistan.”