ISLAMABAD -  During the current week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) will take up two important cases related to minorities — one regarding the sanctity of a Hindu temple in Said Pur village and the other related to the sale of liquor in the federal capital.

In the first case, a petitioner has moved the court seeking its directives to maintain the sanctity of the temple in Said Pur village.

After an initial hearing, IHC judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had issued notices to the federal government after the petitioner alleged that the civic authorities have failed to stop visitors from taking off their shoes while entering the temple, thus desecrating and hurting the feelings of the Hindus.

The petitioner, Adil Gill, a resident of Rawalpindi, had moved the court through his counsel Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry and cited the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division, the Capital Development Authority, the Islamabad Capital Territory and Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation as respondents.

The petitioner has contended that he was a Hindu by faith and under the constitution, every citizen enjoys equal rights regardless of their religious affiliation.

He contended that he wants to draw the attention of authorities towards the discomfiting situation of the temple.

He said that the said temple was a sacred place for the Hindu community and it was located inside a Haveli which has been converted into a picture gallery by the CDA while people visiting the gallery and also visit the temple, while wearing shoes. He said that the visitors also take pictures inside the temple and make noises.

The petitioner has maintained that the temple was as sacred for the Hindus as a mosque for the Muslims and a church for the Christians. 

He said he had also filed applications on May 15, 2016, to the respondents but no action has been taken by them.

The petitioner said that the respondents were under legal obligation to act in accordance with the law as provided under Article 4 of the constitution.

He has prayed to the court to direct the respondents to appear before the court and explain why that gross violation of the temple continued unabated.

He has also requested that the court may also impose a ban on visitors from entering the temple with shoes and taking pictures inside.

An IHC single bench will also resume hearing in another petition seeking court’s directives to cancel issuance of permits for sale/purchase of liquor in the name of Christians and non-Muslims and a complete ban on its sale in the federal capital. The petition has been moved by Joseph Masih through his counsel Yasir Mehmood Chaudhry and has cited the federation through secretary ministry of interior, Islamabad chief commissioner and director excise and taxation as respondents.

The petitioner has contended that liquor was strictly prohibited in Christian holy scriptures and the Christian community wants a complete ban on its sale and considers its use a menace for the society.

He stated that the Christians feel aggrieved when liquor permits were issued in their names that aimed to malign, defame and create a bad impression about the community, as of the five percent non-Muslims in this country, most of them were Christians.

The petitioner argued that the respondents issue liquor permits to Muslims, hotels and others in the name of the Christian community which was unjust and has no religious, moral and legal justification.

He has prayed to the court to put an end to this practice and direct the respondents from issuing liquor permits in the name of Christians or non-Muslims and a complete ban be enforced on usage, consumption, storage, sale and purchase of liquor in the federal capital. The court will take up both the matters on January 25.