Late last month, construction began on the long-awaited Shri Krishna Mandir temple complex in Islamabad’s H-9 area. This will be the first Hindu temple in Pakistan’s capital, coming seven decades after the country’s inception. The complex, which will include a crematorium, a community hall, and boarding for visitors, will serve an estimated 3,000 Hindus living in Islamabad who will no longer need to leave the city in order to perform religious rituals.
Approved in 2017 under Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, administrative obstacles postponed construction for some time. Under Prime Minister Imran Khan, work on the complex has moved forward with 100 million rupees ($1.32m) in government funding. Since coming to power in August 2018, PM Khan’s government has stated that it aims to improve living conditions for Pakistani minorities, including but not limited to the restoration of several religious shrines.
The official groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 23rd, and was performed by Parliamentary Secretary on Human Rights, Lal Chand Malhi.
Although the temple complex is being met with mixed responses, many praise this as a big step for the country’s minority Hindu community. According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, Hindus make up about 4% of Pakistan’s population of 200 million, with a vast majority living in the province of Sindh. However, the building of this temple complex in the country’s capital is intended to send a message of inclusivity in line with the promises of PM Khan.