Sikhs, Hindus get big cremation ground over 4 acres in Lahore
LAHORE, Pakistan—The Sikhs and Hindus who are usually forced to bury their dead at several places in Pakistan due to lack of crematoriums inadequate number, today got a big cremation ground in Lahore, capital of Pakistan’s Punjab. As per the information shared by a spokesperson of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sahibzada Noor-ul-Haq Qadri on Thursday inaugurated a new Cremation Site (Shamshan Ghat) at Babu Sabu locality in Lahore to facilitate members of religious minority communities to perform their last rituals in a smooth manner. The inauguration ceremony was held at the office of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) here in presence of Sikh leaders including office bearers of the PSGPC. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the minorities were enjoying equal rights in the country, reported the Urdu Point news portal. Briefing the minister about the cremation site, Chairman (ETPB), Dr Amir Ahmed said the cremation site was spread over 34 kanal area (approximately 4.25 acres). The crematorium, constructed with the cost of Rs 16.1 million, had been completed despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the minister was also briefed about various development initiatives in the 333rd meeting of the ETPB members. Prior to this, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province identified sites for the construction of a cremation ground for the minority communities and a graveyard for the Christians on January 14 in 2019. Nearly 1.25 acre of land was identified in Samarbagh near northern bypass Peshawar of which 0.5 acre were allocated for the construction of the cremation ground and 0.75 acre for the graveyard. The provincial government-enforced Section-IV for the procurement of land at the sites identified for the cremation ground and the graveyard in Peshawar, Nowshera, and Kohat districts of the province. One ambulance to each worship places of minorities in the province was also provided. While Sikhs are very small minority community in Pakistan, Hindus’ population is considerable there. Hindus make up 2.5 percent of the 174 million people living in Pakistan. The majority of them, over 90 percent, live in the southern Sindh province, but a considerable number of Hindus and Sikhs also reside in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, they face problems pertaining to performing last rites of their dead as per their religious rituals in the Islamic Republic. They will get big relief with the construction of new crematorium in Lahore.