In a move to raise its reputation as an inclusive country, Pakistan’s northwest provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has declared Hindu religious site of Panj Tirath in Peshawar as the national heritage on January 3. Panj Tirath got its name of five different pools of water present there and it has a temple and a lawn with date palm trees. The five pools now come under the ambit of Chacha Yunus Park and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The KP Directorate of Arcahaeology and Museums issued a notification under the KP Antiquities Act 2016 declaring the land in the Panj Tirath Park as a heritage site. The notification stated that the site should get rid of all the encroachments and the Chacha Yunus Park that stands inside the site. The land should be handed over to the archeological department to start the much needed restoration work. the KP government has also announced a fine of up to Rs. 2 million and imprisonment of 5 years if anyone is found guilty of destroying the heritage site.
It is believed that the Hindu mytical king Pandu used to come there during the month of Karteek and worship under the tree for two days. The site was damaged in 1747 by the Afghan Durrani dynasty. Later, in early 1800s, it was restored by local Hindus by under the Sikh rule. They also started worshipping there again. Pakistan has also passed the Hindu Marriage Bill which will allow minority Hindus to register their marriages and also move to the court in case of separation or divorce. As a proof to the marriage, they will have the marriage document called the “shadiparat”, similar to the Muslim “nikahnama”.
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