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October 29, 2020

CII says can’t support govt funds for temple

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October 29, 2020

A Reuters file image.

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Wednesday ruled there were no constitutional or Sharia restrictions against building a temple in any place in the country.

According to media report, the ruling was issued in a CII meeting held in Islamabad. The meeting was chaired by Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz. The Council of Islamic Ideology also allowed the government to hand over the temple and its Dharamshala in Saidpur village of the federal capital to the Hindu community.

The decision, signed by 14 members of the Council, has stated the Hindus, like all other religious groups in the country, have the right to have a place to perform last rites of the deceased according to their faith. Apart from Islamic considerations, the decision was made on the basis of the Constitution and the Liaquat-Nehru Pact of 1950 that led to the establishment of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) in Pakistan and a similar entity in India.

“The decision has been made in light of various provisions of Sharia,” Chairman Ayaz said. The Council said there was no tradition in Pakistan for the government to provide funds for places of worships owned by private parties. It said the Council could not support the idea of providing government funds for this temple.

However, it suggested alternatives to resolve the funding issues for the building of the temple. The first possible solution was to make amendments in the Act of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) to meet the finances to execute religious activities.

The second possible solution was to create a block fund for non-Muslim communities. It pointed out that it was the state's responsibility to ensure the welfare and prosperity of the country's citizens, who include Hindus as well. The government may allocate funds and hand it over to the non-Muslim communities, and there is no Sharia constraint regarding the utilisation of that fund by the relevant community.