Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said on Friday that his government will rebuild a Hindu temple that was vandalised and set on fire by a mob in the province early this week.
The attack on the temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's (KP) Karak district on Wednesday had drawn strong condemnation from human rights activists and the minority Hindu community leaders.
India has lodged a strong protest against Pakistan over the demolition of the Hindu temple and had condemned the act on Thursday through diplomatic channels.
Several arrests have been made by local authorities in connection with the incident. Over 45 people, mostly members of a radical Islamist party, have been arrested for destroying the temple. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Rehmat Salam Khattak was among those arrested.
The Pakistani Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognizance and said that it will hear the case on January 5.
Chief Justice Ahmed has directed the Chairman of the Minority Rights Commission, the Police Chief, and the Chief Secretary of the Province to submit the report by January 4.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan's Special Assistant for Information and spokesman for the KP government Kamran Bangash said that the provincial government has ordered authorities to reconstruct the damaged temple.
Deputy Commissioner and District Police Officer Karak have been issued directives to take immediate steps for reconstructing the temple, Bangash said.
The government is bound to give protection to the minorities and their worship places, he added.
The temple was attacked by the mob after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building, according to witnesses.
The mob, led by a local cleric and supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure, they said.
Notably, this temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is not the first case of demolition. Earlier, there was an attack in 1997 and later in 2015, the temple was rebuilt.
It is to be remembered that Hindus form the largest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official statistics, there are about 75 lakh Hindus, most of who are in the Sindh province.
Reports of violence against the minority community in Sindh are often heard.