Ancient Hindu temple Zhob, what other minorities expect ?
Hindus, Sikhs and Christians praise handing over ancient temple
By Rafiullah Mandokhail
ZHOB: Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are the ancient inhabitants of Zhob, Balochistan’s bordering city near the Afghan border. The minority Hindu community has been living in the frontier towns of Pakistan near the Afghan border for centuries and enjoy full religious freedom.
“Now we are able to perform our religious rituals”, 40-year-old Arshad Jan who belongs to Hindu community says. Around 40 Hindu families are living in Zhob since pre-partition. Their worship places in the city have been occupied but now they would be able to perform their religious rituals at the historic Mandir in Babu muhalla that was being used as a primary school for thirty years. The rooms at mud-stone building are now crumbling and the walls have developed cracks. He demanded immediate repair and renovation work, so the community could resume their religious affairs at the worship place.
“The minorities in Pashtoon dominated areas are fully enjoying their religious freedom. Local tribes in Zhob also respect the other religious groups,” he said.
The two-story historic Mandir was built 200 years back by a Hindu contractor Munshi Ram for Hindu worshipers. During the partition the temple was abounded.
A Sikh leader Gaga Singh – wearing red turban, in his sixties say, their Gurdwara is also occupied as a primary school has been set up for the last three decades. On the directives of Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, the district administration would soon evacuate the school and hand the worship place over to the Sikh community.
Sardar Masih who represents the Christian community in Zhob, also expresses pleasure over the returning back of historic temple to Hindu community. He says, the minorities have welcomed the formal hand over of Mandir to the Hindu community. He terms the day of handing-taking over as ‘riddance day’.
Sardar laments that the decade-old graveyard of the Christian community near Radio Pakistan Zhob, is hit by drainage and rainwater as the graveyard has no boundary walls. Besides the garbage heaps scattered in and around, the stray dogs can also be seen roaming inside the graveyard, pawing at the graves usually at night when the neighboring areas plunged into darkness.
“The Christian community in this regard is running from pillar to post to save their graveyard, but to no avail. The district administration has also been turning a deaf ear to their repeated complaints and no measures have been taken,” adding the graveyard was once spread over a huge stretch of land but now the premises shrank. He explains.