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Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority neglects construction of cemeteries for minorities

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In June 2017, Government of Punjab established Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority (PSKA) Act 2017, assigning it with the responsibility to construct model cemetery for the Non-Muslims. Daily Times reported that the authority has thus far failed to carry out its responsibilities.

Pakistani Christian community

The authority was also assigned with the tasks including allocation burial land to non-Muslim communities. PKSA is also responsible to construct cemeteries to be used for burial or cremation of dead bodies of non-Muslims. For this purpose, the authority was granted one billion rupees from the government, no land has been granted to minorities in the suburbs of Lahore.

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Daily Times reported that PSKA, has been granted sufficient funds for the purpose of constructing new graveyards for the minorities. The funds have been used for Muslims graveyards, whilst completely ignoring non-Muslim communities.

General Secretary of Pakistan National Council of Churches Victor Azariah, complained that the authority never tried to know about the demands of Christian community. “This authority has never contacted us for knowing our demands regarding graveyards or their maintenance. We have the same old graveyards for the Christian community and there is no new addition of space in them.”

He said that with an increase in the Christian population has created a problem of burial space for the community. “With the increase in population, the Christian community has also increased and thus the requirement of graveyard is also raised. We are finding space for a graveyard by spending our own resources but no support has been extended yet by this authority”.

Remarking about the matter, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, told Daily times that he was assured by the Punjab government that an authority would be established for the purpose of creating cremation ground for Hindus.

He detailed that there were no cremation grounds in the major cities like Lahore and Islamabad. “This problem could not be solved despite the establishment of Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority. There is no Hindu cremation ground for the Hindu community in Lahore and we have to seek small and hidden spaces for this purpose. There is no Shamshan Ghaat in Islamabad as well, rather there are very few in Pakistan. Our community is increasing but there is no facility for us.”