Islamabad: Pakistan’s Chief Justice today asked Karachi authorities to submit an impact assessment report within two weeks about the constructions endangering a 150-year-old Hindu temple in the port city.
Chief Justice Tassaduq Jillani sought the report on the construction of flyovers and underpasses that threaten the Sri Ratneswar Mahadev temple, following a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The HRCP had recently written to the Chief Justice seeking his intervention to protect the temple.
In the letter, HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf said business interests in complicity with officials of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) have started construction of flyovers and underpasses near the temple in Clifton area without prior notice.
Taking up the matter, Jillani today ordered local authorities to provide an impact report within two weeks.
The HRCP chairperson said such a venture “which would vandalise the very face of a historical part of the city, has not undergone the Environmental Impact Assessment (with public hearings) mandated by law”.
She expressed deep concern over the adverse impact that the project could have on the temple.
“Ground vibrations from excavation and from the eventual high-density traffic running so close to the temple could cause collapse of this irreplaceable place of worship,” the HRCP chairperson said.
She said that the minority community in Sindh had been experiencing escalating human rights violations over the past few years.
“The Laxmi Narayan Mandir, located at Native Jetty, near the Jinnah Bridge on M A Jinnah Road, had its access, privacy and environs severely affected a few years ago by another commercial project, Port Grand.”
In the letter, she had called upon the Chief Justice to summon KMC officials to explain the matter and ensure that all necessary steps were taken to protect the temple.