"All such sites are part of our civilisation' irrespective of which faith they represent"

President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday expressed concern over the damage caused to the ancient Katasraj Temple in Chakwal district of Punjab and the drying up of the temple pond due to industrial activity in the vicinity.

Reacting to a media report, he called for a detailed report on the state of the temple and its surroundings particularly the natural pond that has drawn pilgrims to Katasraj for years on end. Stressing the need to preserve ancient sites of historical and religious significance, he said all such sites are part of “our civilisation'' irrespective of which faith they represent.

According to a statement issued by the Presidency, for ages, there has been a regular flow of water from the pond to downstream villages without the water level in the pond being affected. However, industrial activity in recent years has dried up the ground water.

In 2005, former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani had visited the temple and laid the foundation stone for its renovation. Two years later, a team of Pakistan's archaeology department had visited India and briefed him about the work that was being undertaken to renovate the temple.

The Pandavas are believed to have spent some time here during their years in exile and another legend is that the pond is where Shiva's wife, Sati's tears fell while she was dying.