A Pakistani court has stayed the demolition of a 200-year-old Hindu temple in the old area of the city.
A division bench of the Sindh high court, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, issued a stay order on a petition filed by Kailash Wishram, stopping the demolition of the Shri Laxmi Narayan Mandir near the historical Netty Jetty bridge until the next date of hearing after 10 days.
The Karachi Port Trust and other respondents had sought to demolish the temple in a bid to increase the area of a popular food street built under the bridge.
The division bench also appointed a Nazir of the court for inspection of the temple and directed him to submit his report after ascertaining the factual position of demolition and construction activity at the site within seven days.
The directions came on a constitutional petition filed by Wishram, a resident of the residential quarters on the temple premises. He said that the Mandir was constructed much before the partition of the subcontinent and for a long time Hindus performed their religious rituals at the temple where access to seawater was one of the essential things to worship.
According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, the temple was constructed about 200 years ago and the festival of Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi and every new moon night is celebrated there. It is a sacred place for performing death rituals, funerals and other religious rituals also.
The petitioner's counsel submitted the private company which ran the food street known as Port Grand, an endeavour in collaboration with the KPT, had started some construction work blocking the access to the seawater from the temple. He said the construction would threaten their place of worship and so also the right of the minority community at large.
There are a number of historical Hindu worship places in Karachi in the old area which have come under threat from the land mafia or government negligence.