ISLAMABAD - Taking suo moto notice of threats posed to a temple in Karachi, Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani Monday sought detailed impact report of the construction work from chief secretary Sindh, and administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) within two weeks.

The Chief Justice took notice on the press clippings of different newspapers containing the statement of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairperson that an old Hindu temple, Shri Ratneshwar Mahadev, in Karachi was in danger by the construction of underpasses and flyovers at Clifton.

Zohra Yusuf HRCP chief has urged the CJP to protect over 150-year-old Hindu temple that is threatened by under-construction underpasses and flyover in Clifton.

In a letter to the chief justice, she stated that housing developer in complicity with Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) officials had started the construction of multiple underpasses and flyover around Clifton seafront without any prior notice.

She noted that such a major venture “which would vandalise the very face of a historical part of the city, has not undergone the environmental impact assessment (with public hearings) mandated by the laws.”

She expressed HRCP’s deep concern over the adverse impact that this project could have on Shri Ratneshwar Mahadev temple just metres away from one of the underpasses. “Ground vibrations from excavation and from the eventual high-density traffic running so close to the temple could cause collapse of this irreplaceable place of worship,” the HRCP chief said.

Agencies add: Separately, Hindus in Karachi on Monday urged authorities to halt construction work on the underpass.

“Heavy machinery is at work right now and it is our request that the court issue a stay order,” Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council told a foreign news agency.

The temple has long been a fixture on the city’s Clifton Beach, a popular recreation spot adjacent to Karachi’s most upmarket neighbourhood.

According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, the temple holds a Grand Mela every year, attracting some 25,000 pilgrims.

Construction of the underpass is being financed by a housing developer, which wants a road to link up to a skyscraper it is building some hundreds of metres away from the temple.

But Vankwani said even the skyscraper was built on “evacuee property” — land abandoned by Hindus at the time of India’s partition.

Under the law, such property is meant to be protected by the government.