Pakistan’s Supreme Court is hearing a suo motu case relating to the Katas Raj temple complex in Chakwal district of Punjab province. The court took cognizance of media reports, which stated that the pond in the temple complex was drying up as surrounding cement factories draw water through its borewells. The court had, in November, set up a committee to probe the issue.
Katas Raj, also known as Qila Katas, is a Hindu pilgrimage site comprising several temples linked to one another by walkways. The pond is named Katas (Raj temple) after Kataksha, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘tearful eyes’. According to a legend, the pond was formed as Lord Shiva wept upon the death of wife Satti. The site is considered the second most sacred for Hindus in Punjab.
In a hearing on Tuesday, a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Nisar, sought to know the names of the factories in the area surrounding the temple, news agency PTI reported. It also barred lower courts from hearing any petitions regarding the case.
In response, the Punjab government’s counsel named Best Way Cement Factory Chakwal, Ghareeb Wall Factory and DG Khan Cement as the factories near the temple.
During the hearing, Evacuee Trust Property Board accused former chairman Asif Hashmi of corruption and for the current state of the temple. “Asif Hashmi earned millions of rupees from corruption (during his tenure) and then ran away (from the country),” its representatives claimed in court, reported PTI.
Justice Nisar, in response, asked why Hashmi had not been arrested, reported PTI. Meanwhile, the court also expressed concern over the absence of statues of Lord Ram and Hanuman in the complex.
The case was adjourned till Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)