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SC fines Punjab government for not submitting report in Katas Raj case

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 rupees on the Punjab government for failing to submit its report in the Katas Raj suo moto case. The SC had demanded a report to explain the scale of water utilization by cement factories near Katas Raj on 13th December last year.

During Tuesday’s hearings, the chief justice stressed that since the Katas Raj pond is drying because of cement factories, they should make some other arrangements. The chief justice remarked that, “The pond and the temple at Katas Raj need to be restored.” In a previous hearing, it was identified that cement areas in the surrounding of Katas Raj are responsible for the drying of the pond.

Media analysts believe that the Katas Raj case will highlight other neglected religious and historical sites in the country and help in their maintenance and survival.

The chief justice announced that a deadline will be given to the cement factories and after that, they’ll have to make an alternate arrangement for their water requirement. The bench used a stern tone against the Evacuee Trust Property Board’s (ETPB) chairman Siddiqui Farooq for holding the position longer than his tenure.

“Farooq’s credentials for the appointment are his 30 years of political service,” observed the chief justice and also remarked that someone who collected newspapers in the party office has been appointed to such a post. The SC announced that if the government doesn’t act in the Katas Raj case then they will.

Read more: Shehbaz reviews shutdown order of cement factories at Katas Raj temple

The Katas Raj Temples are several Hindu temples connected with each other, located in the Chakwal district of Punjab. Katas Raj is one of the most sacred sites in the Hindu religion. According to legends, the pond in Katas Raj was created from the tears of the Hindu god Shiva as he flew across the sky, shedding tears for his dead wife Sati. The pond occupies two kanals and 15 marlas, and it is 20 feet deep.

The dismal state of Katas Raj shows that minority rights are not respected on occasions and there is a need to pay attention to the growing concerns of the Hindu community in Pakistan.

 Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit the site during the Katas Raj Dham festival. In the recent years, the condition of the temples has been deteriorating and the adjacent pond to the temple has been drying up. The Supreme Court took a suo moto notice of the case after media reports.

Minority rights activists were the first ones to raise the issue of Katas Raj. They believe that the care we show to the holy sites of minorities reflects greatly on our national harmony and tolerance. The dismal state of Katas Raj shows that minority rights are not respected on occasions and there is a need to pay attention to the growing concerns of the Hindu community in Pakistan.

Read more: CJP threatens to take over Evacuee Trust board over Katas Raj

Business experts also advocate the maintenance of heritage sites since they are a great attraction for pilgrims and tourists in general. If they are well maintained then they can contribute a great deal towards increasing tourism and generating revenue for the country.

Anthropological experts state that we should respect our ancestors and the ancient sites since our nation can learn a great deal from them. Media analysts believe that the Katas Raj case will highlight other neglected religious and historical sites in the country and help in their maintenance and survival.


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