In statement, CII stresses that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure the protection of places of worship belonging to Pakistan’s minorities
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Monday “strongly” condemned the attack on, and subsequent desecration of, a Hindu temple in the Bhong village of Rahim Yar Khan, stressing that it was the state’s responsibility to ensure minorities’ rights are protected.
The attack, clips of which went viral on social media, occurred on Aug. 4. It has been condemned by government officials, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has vowed to ensure the temple is restored. Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, meanwhile, has slammed local police for their inability to prevent the attack and questioned how they could lodge a blasphemy case against a 8-year-old Hindu boy, as “what do children even know about faith?”
By contrast, most religious groups have yet to issue any condemnation, with the Milli Yakjehti Council—a grouping of 22 religious and political parties and organizations—claiming it did not wish to comment on the matter and suggesting it was “incited.” According to police, the event occurred after a local cleric registered a blasphemy case against a Hindu minor who had allegedly urinated in a madrassa. After the boy was granted bail, the cleric and his supporters formed a mob, blocked a section of the Motorway and attacked and desecrated the temple.
“As with the lives and property of non-Muslims living in Pakistan, the protection of their places of worship is the legal responsibility of the state,” read the CII statement, adding that no one could be permitted to harass non-Muslims in Pakistan or damage their property.
“Demolishing any of religious places of worship [of minorities] is a clear violation of Islamic law and Pakistani law,” it said and urged the government to ensure all the culprits were prosecuted in accordance with law.
The CII also regretted that incidents such as the attack on the temple risked damaging the ongoing efforts for interfaith harmony. Welcoming the prime minister’s direction to restore the temple and bring the perpetrators to justice, it said the incident had violated Pakistan’s Constitution, which guaranteed the religious freedoms and civil rights of all minorities. It also praised the Chief Justice of Pakistan for taking timely action, adding that hopefully this would prevent such incidents in future.
Referring to the Paigham-e-Pakistan, the CII said it was an important national document that guaranteed the protection of lives and property of all non-Muslim citizens as well as the protection of their places of worship, but it too had been violated by the attack on the temple.