ISLAMABAD            -       The groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the first ever temple in Islamabad was held without taking approval for its building plan from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

A ceremony in this regard was held few days back and it was reported in national media as well. The topic also came to limelight on social media.

However, when The Nation tried to know the facts, it was learnt that the groundbreaking ceremony was held without approval of the CDA and the building plan of the temple has not been received in the authority so far. When contacted, the Director Building Control CDA Muhammad Fasil Naeem confirmed that approval for the building plan of the temple is not available, as the Islamabad Hindu Panchayat did not apply for it.  

“We came to know that a groundbreaking was held but there is no construction work on site at present,” he said, adding: “We will definitely stop the construction if it will be started without having prior approval of the authority.”

On the other side, contrary to a campaign on social media regarding allotment of land for the temple regarding present government, the truth is that the land was allotted by the previous government in 2016. The allotment process was initiated on the recommendations of National Commission for Human Rights and National Minorities Commission while a summary was presented before the CDA board in December 2016.

The board has approved same summary and allowed to allot approximately 4 kanals of land at Sector H-9/2 but linked it with the clearance of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Auqaf Directorate of district administration and the special branch of the Islamabad police.

Later, estate wing of the authority after getting NOCs from aforementioned departments allotted said piece of land to Islamabad Hindu Panchayat in October 2017 free of cost as according to Islamabad Land Disposal Regulations, the land for religious purposes is allotted without any dues.

Furthermore, this piece of land is meant for the use of cremation, community centre and a temple. The Hindu community took over the possession of this land in March 2018. The area where Hindu community is allotted land, the allotments to other minorities have also been made.  

Meanwhile, a writ petition, filed to stop the construction of temple in Islamabad immediately, was also rejected by the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday. Though, the court did not pass restraining orders on the petition but notices were issued to CDA and other respondents for their reply.

Petitioner Chaudhary Tanveer Akhtar stated in his petition that he came to know that CDA had allotted some portion of land for construction of a temple in sector H-9 of Islamabad and now the government of Pakistan is going to raise the construction of the temple from treasury of the government. He contended that there is already an old temple in Saidpur village and government can renovate it instead of constructing new one while he also termed the allotment as violation of the master plan of the capital city.