INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan court allows worship at Shiva temple

A Pakistan court on Monday allowed Hindus to worship at a Shiva temple in Abbottabad district which had been off-limits to them for 20 years.

A bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) headed by Justice Ateeq Hussain Shah permitted Hindus to worship at the Shiv Jee temple of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under section 20 of the Constitution.

Property dispute

The temple had been closed for any religious activity over property dispute.

In 2013, a Hindu non-governmental organisation (NGO) filed a petition with the PHC Abbottabad bench in which it said that it had purchased the property through lease by a legal owner.

Sham Lal, the petitioner and head of the NGO Balmaik Sabha, pleaded that after partition of subcontinent the NGO has been looking after the temple, which was constructed 175 years ago.

After partition in 1947, the Balmaik Sabha took over the charge of the temple and other property, which it held till 1960 when Cantonment Board Abbottabad (CBA) seized temple and all Hindu properties.

Mr. Lal said that eight years ago CBA granted permission to conduct prayers in the temple.

Mr. Lal is a retired official of Pakistan Military Accounts (PMA) Abbottabad.

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