New Delhi: In a move to promote inter-faith harmony, the Hindu community in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has decided to pay fines imposed on 11 religious leaders involved in the temple attack in Karak district in December 2020. The payment of Rs 30.3 million will be made as a ‘goodwill gesture’ from the All Pakistan Hindu Council’s fund. The Hindu community had ‘pardoned‘ the attackers earlier.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court had ordered the recovery of the amount, to be used in the temple’s reconstruction, after it was discovered that local clerics were involved in the attack on the temple and were also creating hurdles in the efforts to rebuild it.
The district administration had already sent notices to 123 people accused in the attack to pay their share of the fine. It has been reported that if they fail to pay the required amount, then their properties will be confiscated.
Raising questions on whether this is actually a gesture of goodwill or a move out of fear, The Express Tribune reported that a local Hindu leader told them that they paid the fine out of helplessness as, despite government involvement, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) did not help them in the reconstruction of the temple due to fear of local clerics. And in a bid to not further enrage local leaders, the Hindu community decided to pay their share of the fine from the Hindu Council’s fund.
Twitter users also had a mixed reaction to this move.
While some said ‘this is what goodwill’ looked like, others said “This is what being zimmi looks like in an Islamic state.” Another user called it “bizarre”
What 'goodwill' looks like. Pakistan govt releases over 100 TTP prisoners as ‘goodwill gesture’. Hindu community to pay the fines of 11 Karak temple attackers. All in the name of ‘goodwill’. https://t.co/KcwqheoyU4
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) November 23, 2021
A Hindu temple was attacked in Pakistan. Courts ordered the attackers to pay fines. Clerics have demanded that the Hindu community pay the fines on their behalf, and forced them to do so. This is what being zimmi looks like in an Islamic state.https://t.co/Qa0OWnH5z9
— Nayanika (@nayanikaaa) November 23, 2021
BIZZARE!! Hindus will pay fine to 11 attackers who attacked Hindu temple in KP, Pakistan as a ' Goodwill gesture '. https://t.co/2Xhf7f7CIU
— Sajid Dar 🍁 (@Beingsajiddarr) November 23, 2021
“The sheer brazen audacity. Hindus had their temple destroyed, and will have to rebuild it without help, and are being victimised again by being forced to pay for their tormentors”, noted one user.
The sheer brazen audacity. Hindus had their temple destroyed, and will have to rebuild it without help, and are being victimised again by being forced to pay for their tormentors.
— Nayanika (@nayanikaaa) November 23, 2021
Another user from India said this was “Interesting iteration of Stockholm Syndrome!!!”
Interesting iteration of Stockholm Syndrome!!!https://t.co/RHoX1jBBCD
— Niranjan Gohokar (@NPGohokar) November 23, 2021
Someone even compared this “interfaith harmony” in Pakistan to India, while a user called ‘Nepali Hindu’ said this was how Hindus were bullied in the name of “interfaith harmony”.
"Interfaith harmony" in Pakistan. Where Hindus have to pay fines of their attackers.
Not much different from the same "interfaith harmony" in India. https://t.co/WP0uk4AM75
— honey… duh! (@robyns24) November 22, 2021
Supporting Pak cricket team is one thing but this belief amongst Nepali Hindus that Pakistan is somehow “a friend” is marvelously stupid.This is how Hindus are bullied in the name of interfaith harmony. They break temples and make Hindus pays the fine! 🤦🏽♀️https://t.co/o9ZXndRAdA
— Nepali Hindu (@nepalisfornepal) November 23, 2021
The local leader reportedly told The Express Tribune that while the fine had been paid, the 123 accused were now demanding that even their fines should be paid by the Hindu community.
The police and district administration asked the accused to pay the fine within 14 days Friday, else action would be taken against them. And were further instructed to submit affidavits to state when they would pay the fine.
After the Hindu community paid the fine, at a Diwali function at the newly constructed temple in Karam, Pakistan CJI Justice Gulzar Ahmad said there was complete religious freedom to all people and all steps would be taken to ensure this freedom.
(Edited by Prashant)