Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the attack on a Hindu temple by a mob in the country’s Punjab province, saying all culprits will be arrested and action will be taken against any negligence by the police. “Strongly condemn attack on Ganesh Mandir in Bhung, RYK yesterday. I have already asked IG Punjab to ensure the arrest of all culprits and take action against any police negligence. The government will also restore the Mandir,” Imran Khan said in a tweet late on Thursday.
Imran Khan’s comments came after India summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires on Thursday to protest the attack on the Hindu temple in Bhong city of the Rahim Yar Khan district and to call for steps to ensure the safety of minorities in the neighbouring country.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed took cognisance of the Hindu temple attack on Thursday. It came after parliamentarian Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, met Ahmed to discuss the Hindu temple attack. The country’s top court is set to take up the issue on Friday. The chief justice has also directed Punjab province’s chief secretary and police chief to appear for the hearing along with a report on the incident.
Hundreds of people were seen carrying sticks, stones and bricks with which they damaged idols in the Hindu temple while raising religious slogans in videos widely circulated on social media. They also blocked a nearby highway after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, accused of urinating in an Islamic seminary, was granted bail by a local court.
Hindu temple attacked in Pakistan, mob rampage on camera; India slams Imran govt
Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, said on Thursday that Pakistani charge d’affaires Aftab Hasan Khan was ‘summoned and a firm protest was lodged, expressing our grave concerns at this reprehensible incident and the continued attacks on the freedom of religion of the minority community and their places of religious worship’.
Bagchi said during a regular news briefing that India called on Pakistan to ‘ensure the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities’. He said that incidents of ‘violence, discrimination and persecution against the minority communities, including attacks on places of worship, have continued unabated in Pakistan’.
‘Within the last year itself, various temples and gurdwaras have been attacked, including the Mata Rani Bhatiyani Mandir in Sindh in January 2020, Gurdwara Sri Janamsthan in January 2020, and a Hindu temple in Karak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in December 2020,’ he pointed out.