Of the 300 Hindu temples that Pakistan inherited in 1947 at the time of partition, hardly three dozen have managed to survive, many of which are in ruins and set to disappear with the passage of time if attention is not paid to their maintenance.

 

Since the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in India in 1992 by Hindu extremists, over 200 Hindu temples have been destroyed across Pakistan by angry Muslims. Many of the Hindus living in Sindh and North West Frontier Province have lost their homes as the largest outward migration of the Hindu community since Partition took place during these years. But despite all that, Hindus still exist in Pakistan, numbering more than 2 million. The Hindu population is largest in the Sindh province followed by the North West Frontier Province, but there are Hindu communities dotted all over Pakistan which continue to suffer constant threats against their security, property and lives from extremist Muslims.

Together with the apathy of the general public, the Hindus of Pakistan remain a forgotten and voiceless people who have to live a low-profile existence and put up with many insults to their honor and dignity, without any safeguards. The Pakistani authorities rarely intervene to help their Hindu nationals, despite the fact that there are frequent reports of the kidnapping of Hindu women and children, and the looting of Hindu property, in addition to other forms of persecution and discrimination.

Most Hindu temples in Pakistan are non-existent; while idols in many ancient temples of historical importance are missing. The famous Temples at Katas, near Kalar Kahar, are in a dilapidated condition and require renovation - this despite the fact that Pakistan signed an agreement with India to restore the Katas temples. The temples had been falling into disrepair, and parts of them had been cemented before Indian leader L K Advani’s 2005 tour to Pakistan. One of the Katas temples in Pakistan had even been converted into a library, although Katas is sacred to Hindus.

Katas is mentioned in the Mahabharata, one of the three major ancient Sanskrit epics of India. According to Hindu religious belief, both Katas and Paskar (Ajmer) are the eyes of Shiva, one of their gods. Paras Nath Jogi drew his last breath on Katas, which also holds great historical significance, as the place where the renowned Muslim scientist Alberuni attempted to measure the circumference of the Earth, studied Sanskrit and wrote his “Kitab-ul Hind”.

Similarly, the Doodhwali Mata Mandir and the Sheetla Mandir in Lahore, the Capital of the Pakistani Punjab province, built before the invasion of Alexander, are in dilapidated condition.

The famous Parahlad Mandir and Jain Mandir near Anarkali in Lahore,which were largely damaged by fanatic Muslims after the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India in 1992, have been locked, and an Islamic school is being run in its compound. However, the Pakistan government is not allowing local Hindus to look after their desolate temples for unknown reasons.

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