The Sindh government has earmarked a sum of Rs1,100 million in its current annual budget to repair worship places of religious minorities in the province.
Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah said this on Thursday when the Supreme Court-appointed one-man commission held a meeting at his office to review steps taken by the Sindh government to safeguard the rights and interests of the religious minorities living in the province. Dr Muhammad Shoaib Suddle heads the commission.
The chief secretary informed the meeting that the government had been running a separate department to safeguard the rights of the religious minorities of the province. He said the Sindh government had already issued a notification for the advance payment of salaries to its Hindu staffers on the occasion of their upcoming festive occasion of Diwali.
The secretary for the minorities’ affairs told the meeting that the evacuee trust property board had not been devolved to the provincial government despite the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, saying that this issue had been creating problems related to ownership rights of lands of people belonging to minorities.
Education officials informed the meeting that such content had been removed from school textbooks of Class 1 to Class 8 which could create sentiments of hatred against the minorities. They said the minorities would also get due representation on the committee tasked with adopting a new school curriculum.
MNA and Hindu community leader Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said on the occasion that up to 70 per cent of issues of religious minorities in the province had been resolved. Dr Suddle said he would submit to the Supreme Court a report containing details about encroachment on lands in the province owned by people of minorities.
He asked the divisional commissioners to submit to him reports in this regard related to their respective jurisdictions within one week.
The divisional commissioners briefed the meeting about steps taken to end encroachments on land owned by members of religious minorities. The meeting also took into consideration illegal occupation of properties and worship places.