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May 27, 2019

Sindh govt to set up provincial evacuee trust board, says minorities minister


May 27, 2019

The Sindh government has decided to set up the provincial evacuee trust board that will take over all the evacuee properties located in Sindh.

Sindh Minister for Minority Affairs Hari Ram Kishori Lal said this while talking to a gathering at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in the premises of the Swami Narain Temple on Saturday night where he inaugurated the installation of a 60 kilovolt generator.

Lal said the evacuee trust was a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th amendment but the federal government was reluctant to hand it over to the provinces despite the repeated reminders by the Sindh government at different forums.

The minorities minister said various properties of non-Muslim communities had been placed under the control of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) which had completely failed to manage them properly. As a result, those properties were in a dilapidated condition.

Citing an example of Sadh Bello, a highly revered Hindu temple in Sukkur, he said the renovation work started by the Sindh government at the temple could not be completed despite the passage of 10 years due to hurdles created by the ETPB.

He said Sindh had decided to set up the Sindh Evacuee Trust Board and a draft for its law had recently been approved by the Sindh cabinet, which would be presented in the provincial assembly for the final nod very soon. The minister added that once the law was approved, the Sindh government would take over all the evacuee properties located in the province.

Lal lamented that many properties of the minorities had been occupied and large buildings had been erected on the sites of places of worship of the Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, and other non-Muslim communities.

He said Sindh was the only province in Pakistan where a minority affairs department existed and its credit went to Benazir Bhutto's farsighted vision who in 1993 felt the urgency of a separate body for focusing on the welfare and protection of minorities.

On the occasion, leaders of the Sikh community sought representation in the assemblies and demanded that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s [PPP] leadership allot a piece of land in one of affluent areas of Karachi for the construction of a large gurdwara.

Lal assured the Sikh community of the government’s every possible support for the construction of a gurdwara in one of the posh localities of the city. He also announced an ambulance and a bus for the Guru Nanak Darbar Karachi in the next financial year.

Sardar Ramesh Singh, the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council, thanked the minorities minister for providing the 60kv generator and said no other party in the country came close to the PPP in terms of protecting the rights of minorities.

Sindh Minority Affairs Director Mushtaq Soomro, the gurdwara’s managing committee leaders, Suresh Peswani, Jawahir Lal, Kailash Kumar, Surjeet Kumar and Nank Ram, and several members of the Sikh community attended the ceremony.

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