Notwithstanding a court order, authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province have demolished the remains of a centuries-old Jain temple to pave the way for a controversial metro line project in Lahore.
In violation of the Lahore High Court’s order to suspend all work on the line within 200 feet of buildings of historical value, the Punjab government on Thursday demolished the remains of the already damaged temple.
Located near famous Anarkali Bazaar of old city, mob had damaged Jain Mandir in 1992 after the demolition of Babari Mosque in India. The temple was being used these days for some commercial purposes like shops and the office of the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and a private filling station before its was completely destroyed on Thursday by the Shahbaz Sharif government.
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Supreme Court Lahore’s registry branch, Shalimar Garden, Chauburji monument, Saint Andrew Church, GPO building, tomb of Mehrunisa, Budhu ka Awa, tomb of Baba Mauj Daria, Shah Cheragh Building, Awan-e- Auqafand and Dai Anga Tomb are other historical sites that fall on the route of the project.
The Lahore High Court in January had issued a stay order against the construction work for the metro line project within 200 feet of historical buildings along its route.
Opposition parties in Punjab Assembly have not only brought a resolution in the House against the government’s move to demolish/damage historical sites but also launched a drive to protest against the Sharif brothers (Shahbaz and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif), terming them as “builders having no care for the historical sites and people’s properties”.
Activist Kamal Mumtaz rushed to the Lahore High Court and moved a contempt petition against the government for violating its court order and continuing the construction work of metro line. He pleaded to the court to intervene and stop the government from demolition of historical sites.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called upon the Punjab government to review the project and desist from attacking the people’s basic rights to preservation of their heritage.