A 200-year-old temple was handed back to Hindus in Zhob after 72 years earlier this month. The temple’s keys were handed back to its rightful owners by the khatib of the central mosque of Zhob, Maulana Allah Dad Kakar.
“The process of handing the temple back was difficult and sensitive,” Zhob Deputy Commissioner Taha Saleem said on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Wednesday.
“For all these years, a primary school was being run inside the temple,” he said.
The Hindus of Zhob had been demanding the government return their heritage. Recently, when Balochistan Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail visited the city, the Hindu community informed him of their demands.
“After the visit, Justice Mandokhail instructed us to immediately start work to give possession of the temple back,” Saleem said.
The government of Balochistan was also determined to hand it over.
“Our first hurdle was to provide an alternate plot of land to the school so that the education of students studying there wasn’t affected,” the deputy commissioner explained.
“So, the district administration of the city gave their tehsil office as an alternate space for the school,” he said. The decision was beneficial for the school as well as the office was spacious and the school could also open a secondary section there.
Saleem said that this made the process easier by tenfold. “I will also credit the people of Zhob for this,” he said. “Even though the temple was being used for a long time, all the things inside it were intact,” he revealed.
Clerics and politicians of the city were also very supportive of the project. “The government, judiciary and people of Zhob were forthcoming and called the return of the temple a fundamental right of the Hindus.
“The opening ceremony of the temple was attended by people from all ethnicities in the area, making Zhob an example of religious harmony,” Saleem added.
The government of Balochistan has actively started renovating the temple. It has also announced that the promotion of religious harmony and culture is a top priority for them.