ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday reserved its verdict in a writ petition challenging the government’s decision to construct a Hindu temple in the federal capital.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of lawyer Chaudhary Tanveer Akhtar’s petition and reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments in this matter.

During the hearing, Director Urban Planning of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) informed the court that the plot was allotted after consultations with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Special Branch and the Islamabad administration.

He also told the court that the work was halted due to lack of building plan for the temple.

In response to a question, the deputy attorney general said that the applicant (Hindu Punchayat) is asking for Rs100 million but the government has not provided any funding yet.

He added that the government has sought recommendations from the Council of Islamic Ideology in this matter. He continued that good message is not being sent to the world in this regard while the Constitution of Pakistan also allows non-Muslims to practice their religion.

Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that the matter has been referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) by the government. After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the court reserved its judgment.

The petitioner requested the court that the land allotted for the construction of the Hindu temple in Sector H-9 of Islamabad should be withdrawn along with the funds allocated for the project.

The counsel added that a temple already exists in Saidpur Village of the federal capital and the government could have renovated it. The land given for temple construction in H-9 is a violation of Islamabad’s master plan.

The petitioner maintained that the master plan of Islamabad should be implemented and a restraining order should be issued against the construction of the temple.

He continued that in Sector H-9, the government did not announce funds for a mosque but released funds for the construction of the temple.

The petitioner filed the petition and cited Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Federal Minister for Interior, Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) and chairman CDA board as respondents.

Tanveer stated in his petition that he came to know that CDA had allotted some portion of land for construction of a Hindu 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 adopted that the state is responsible to provide health, education and justice for public but this directive on the part of respondents has raised a lot of questions. “The district judiciary Islamabad is functioning in rented premises since long ago, government has failed to provide the facility of construction of judicial complex and public are suffering from one door to other,” maintained the petition.

The petition added that the public of Pakistan are suffering and the respondents are going to construct the Temple in a sensitive area.

The petitioner argued that the respondents are committing an illegal and wrong act as the sector H-9 is acquired by the CDA and as per master plan of CDA there is no existing provision for construction of a Temple in that sector which is also a panic condition for the public of Mouza Saita who were the landlords of that area. He added that it is necessary to mention here that the H-9 sector was acquired from Muslim community.

He contended that the law of land permits the minorities to perform their religious affairs within specified parameter as per law but there is no provision in the Constitution of Pakistan that government would construct the new temple or other worship places for minorities.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to issue directions to the respondents to withdraw the allotment letter of temple in H-9 Islamabad and order of allocation of funds for construction of Temple may be withdrawn for the interest of public at large.