An ancient Hindu temple in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar is being secretly demolished so that a commercial plaza can come up in its place, local residents have alleged.
The temple at Karimpura in Peshawar’s old quarters is being demolished in the name of repairs, residents of the area said. The process began 10 days ago and is going on without any hindrance, they said.
“It is a pity that a criminal act of pulling down a heritage structure has been launched. The building is being knocked down clandestinely to erect a commercial plaza on the site,” an unnamed resident was quoted as saying by PTI.
“There is no action from any of the government departments which are supposed to protect such buildings,” the resident said.
Residents questioned the silence of government departments on the episode. They also deplored the inaction of authorities. There has been no action by the Evacuee Trust Property Board and Auqaf Department, which deal with non-Muslim properties, and the Archaeology Department.
Four organisations working to protect cultural heritage have urged the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to save the temple. The Sarhad Conservation Network, Frontier Heritage Trust, Institute of Architects Pakistan and Karwan Jirga said in a statement on Tuesday the demolition of the temple at Mohallah Wangri Garan was a reminder of how menacing and strong the market forces had become everywhere, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The organisations hoped the provincial government would stop flagrant negligence and violation by authorities instead of being reduced to a silent spectator.
The bodies recalled the Peshawar’s deputy commissioner’s announcement that there would be a blanket application of Section 144 to all heritage sites in the walled city and hoped the temple could be the first test case of conservation for the heritage committee.