Islamabad may get first Hindu temple

Islamabad: Stunned to learn that Islamabad had no Hindu shrine, a parliamentary panel on Monday directed the government to build a temple and a crematorium for Hindus in the capital. "It is surprising and sad that there is not even a single temple in Islamabad for Hindu community to worship,” Ramesh Lal said while chairing a meeting of sub-committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Religious Affairs. Dawn reported that it came as a shock to the committee members that there was no cremation ground for Hindus in Islamabad. At least 500 Hindus are said to be living in Islamabad. They had to go to Rawalpindi to perform the final rites of the deceased, the committee was told. “This is how the government is treating minorities in the country,” Ramesh Lal, convener of the parliamentary panel, was quoted as saying.  “It is the basic right of Hindus to have a temple in their own city for worship,” he added. The parliamentary body rejected the concerns put forward by the government that there would be security issues if a Hindu temple came up here. “Hotels and restaurants are being provided security by the government, why a temple cannot be provided security?” asked a member of the committee. The committee directed the government to build a temple and a crematorium for Hindus in Islamabad and also allocate funds to renovate churches. The panel has proposed to allot land for the temple in Saidpur village area. Hindus and Christians constitute some three per cent of the population in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan.