The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government of Pakistan has fired 12 police officers following an investigation report found guilty of “negligence” in protecting a Hindu temple in the province set on fire by a mob led by members of a radical Islamist party.
The government also forfeited 33 police officers’ one-year service in connection with the incident.
The temple in Terri village in the Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was attacked by the crowd on December 30 after members of the Hindu community obtained permission from local authorities to renovate its decade-old building. The mob destroyed the newly built plant next to the old structure.
Tayyab Hafeez Cheema, deputy inspector general of police in the Kohat region, had appointed police superintendent (investigative wing) Zahir Shah as an investigator to investigate the incident and submit his report within a week.
Mr Shah conducted the investigation into 73 police officers and recommended that 12 of them be dismissed for negligence and irresponsibility in the performance of their official duties.
“Given the records and facts available, the examination of the investigative papers and the recommendations of the investigators, they have been found guilty of charges. They show cowardice, negligence and irresponsibility in the performance of their official obligations. They failed to protect the Hindu Temple, which is in fell into disrepute in the eyes of the public for the police, “the report said.
The report recommended that 33 police officers lose one year of regular service. The officer also recommended writing to the police superintendent, Frontier Reserve Police, Kohat, about petty punishment for the remaining 28 staff.
The 12 dismissed police officers include the station officer (SHO) and the deputy sub-inspector of the Terri Police Station.
The report said that the mob, under the supervision of Maulana Shareef, attacked the Hindu temple in Terri, with the mob burning the temple and damaging it continuously, which resulted in a complaint being filed with the Terri police after various sections of the train station.
Maulana Shareef, who is in custody, is said to have incited the crowd.
“This is very detrimental to them and shows negligence, negligence and irresponsibility by criminal hands,” the report said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of minority MPs visited the destroyed Hindu temple on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) to begin rebuilding the damaged temple and has ordered the authorities to recover the restoration money from the attackers, whose act has “internationally embarrassed” Pakistan.
On January 1, India vehemently protested the destruction of the temple to Pakistan, saying it expected Pakistan to conduct an investigation into the incident and requested that the investigation report be forwarded to Pakistan.
According to sources, the Foreign Ministry has communicated its grave concerns to the Pakistani High Commission about the repeated cases of similar incidents and atrocities against members of the minority community.
“It has also impressed the Pakistani government that this is not the first time the temple has been destroyed. This has been happening since 1997. We have also requested that the investigation report be made available to the ministry,” a source said.
Hindus form the largest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, there are 75 lakh Hindus in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus live in the countryside.
The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population lives in Sindh Province, where they share culture, traditions, and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment from the extremists.