Islamabad - The national tragedies in the history of nations serve to become a lesson for the generations to come. The remains of historical incidents are preserved to remember the sacrifices made in the past in achieving milestones.

The 70th Independence Day of Pakistan was celebrated with zest and zeal; skyscrapers were decorated with lights and mammoth sized national flags.

Among the extravagant displays of celebration, the confiscated buildings left by the migrants remained a picture of neglect.

Hasanabdal is a city famous for Sikh worship places. Panja Sahib is one of the historical places, where Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs have co-existed since centuries.

The mosques are safe and filled with people five times a day. Gurdwara Panja Sahib, being a source of revenue, is maintained by the government.

The four Hindu temples, on the other hand, are in the private custody of people.

These abandoned temples, situated in different parts of the city are being used as toilets by the claimants.

The Nation visited the largest temple of the city, which is now in the custody of a local who has locked it.

Reluctant to give access to the temple, the housekeepers denied the availability of the key.

On the contrary, Liaquat Ali, a resident of the area told The Nation that Evacuee Trust has nothing to do with the temple, as the claimants have won this place in the bid on the lease.

“They are paying merely Rs300 for this place,” he added.

Kashif Ali, another resident of the area, informed The Nation that the owners have reconstructed the temple for commercial use.

“Earlier, some rooms and toilets were built inside the temple, and a few months ago an NGO was running a school inside it,” he said.

Walking through the narrow streets towards the west, there is another temple adjacent to a saint’s tomb but unlike the Muslim spiritual places, the temple is in the possession of Gul Khan.

“There is nothing inside the temple now, and it is my private home where I cannot give access to anyone,” he said.

However, the shopkeepers in the bazaar informed The Nation that the property is in the possession of the person for 99 years and the person here has been given the place on rent.

“The temple is of no use as the tenants would probably turn it into toilets,” said Sa’adat, a shop owner.

Turning to the right and passing through the streets of ancient Bazar of the city, another temple was discovered in the old settlement area.

The exterior of the temple was in dilapidated condition.

“An old woman lives in this house where this temple is situated but now she is not at home,” said Ahsan, a neighbor of the house.

He informed that no one visits this temple and it is useless and abandoned place of the non-Muslims.

Raja Nawazish Ali, a local whose family is the resident of the city for generations and heard the stories of migration from elders informed told The Nation that the non-Muslim community of the city was financially strong than the Muslims here.

“It is sad that what is now happening with their worship places,” said Nawazish.

Towards the eastern side, the backyard of the Gurdwara Panja Sahib, there was another temple which came in the territory of the newly built kitchen of the Sikh worship place.

There was no requirement for the centuries old temple in the new project so it was demolished, Nawazish said.

“But since it was not demolished, the building was being misused by the citizens and not preserved, it was a garbage den for the people,” he said.

Now there is a multi-storey kitchen but no mark of the temple there.

An official of Evacuee Trust, who was reluctant to discuss the issue, informed The Nation that there is a provision in the law that ‘non-active buildings could be given on lease, like many of them are being used in Rawalpindi.

“The respect we claim for our worship places must also be given to others,” Nawazish said.

He said these places should have been given in the custody of the people from the religion they belong.

Dr. Sajid Awan, a researcher, and historian and Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) said that the state during the partition played a blind role, and so it is doing now.

He said that record of temples before 1947 is available for research but after the partition is hard to find.

“The ideological cleansing resulted in deterioration of the national identity,” he said.

He said though the religious places on the other side of the border were also demolished, what we did can be termed worst.”