Katas Raj case: SC slams authorities for temple’s deterioration

Supreme Court of Pakistan slammed Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) for deterioration of historical Katas Raj Temple. 

During the suo moto hearing, three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, the apex court raised about the establishment of cement factories near the temple which dried up the pond. 

The court ordered to shut down tube well of private cement factory near the temple immediately. 

During the hearing, CJP remarked that no lower court can hear the case once it is in Supreme Court. The bench ordered the Punjab govt to bring details of practical steps being taken for restoration of the temple. 

Furthermore, the court raised the question about absence of idols in Hannu Ram, Shri Ram and Katas Raj Temples. 

“Are there idols still exist or have been lost by the authorities,” asked SC. 

The bench further observed that governments have always appointed a political worker as head of ETPB resulting in deterioration of the temples. 

“Why former ETPB Chairman Asif Hashmi has not been arrested,” Chief Justice said. 

Hashmi did corruption of millions and went abroad but no one took step about it, the court remarked. 

On November 24, the Supreme Court directed the government to form a committee to probe the issue of drying of Katas Raj temple pond.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo motu case taken up on the basis of media reports that the Katas Rajtemple complex pond was drying up because cement factories nearby were drawing a large amount of water through a number of sub-soil wells, severely reducing the water table in the general area.

The court was informed that almost every home in Katas Waulah and Choa Saidan Shah, two settlements near the temple , draws water through bored wells due to the absence of a proper water supply network.

The unchecked plantation of eucalyptus saplings in the region has compounded the problem, the apex court was told.

The Punjab government and a District Coordination Officer submitted reports on the matter.

The Additional Advocate General said that water usage of a cement factory operating in the area is greater than the entire population of the City of Chakwal.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that this temple is not just a place of cultural significance for the Hindu community, but also a part of our national heritage. “I want a solution to this problem,” he added.

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