In reaction to the decision of the government to not move forward with the temple construction, which would have been aid by $1.3m of government funds, HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra commented:
“The destruction of the partial temple wall by Islamists and the decision by Pakistan’s government to cave to public pressure and halt construction of the first Hindu temple in the capital, Islamabad, is deeply disappointing yet not surprising.
“In a country, where the government is led by an individual, Imran Khan and his Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, which enjoy close ties with Islamists and view the creation of an Islamic state as part of their core mission, there is no space for Hindus and other minorities to live as equal citizens with basic civil rights.
“Moreover, regardless of the government in power, Pakistan has a long history and track record of illegally occupying minority religious spaces or allowing Islamists to destroy them with impunity.
“We urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to directly address this incident and the ongoing and systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan. We further request that the State Department impose sanctions consistent with their designation of Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern for ‘engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.”