Historic Gurdwara set for restoration and reopening in Pakistan

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Lahore, Jul 9 (PTI) An over 100-year-old gurdwara, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which was converted into a library decades ago and drew vehement protests from Sikh groups, has been handed over to Pakistan's apex body on minority affairs for restoration and re-opening, officials said on Friday.

Presently, the Gurdwara is under the control of the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government.

'After thorough deliberation, the KPK government has finally accepted the stance of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and agreed to give possession of Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Mansehra district to the ETPB,” said the board's chairman Aamer Ahmed.

The EPTB is a statutory board that manages religious properties and shrines of Hindus and Sikhs who had migrated to India following the Partition.

Ahmed said 'the historical and magnificent gurdwara which is intact in its original architecture and shape' will be opened for Sikhs in a couple of months after necessary restoration.

'It's possession back to ETPB will be a milestone as it will be the first Gurdwara (open for worship) in the northern areas of the country, resulting in a boost in religious tourism,” the chairman said.

Over 20 years ago, the provincial government had converted the Gurdwara into a 'municipal library building' despite protests of the local Sikh community.

Since Partition, the Gurdwara had been closed for worship.

Sikh saint Sardar Gopal Singh Saithi of Hazro had laid the foundation stone of the gurdwara in 1905.

After officially demarcating Mansehra as a district in 1976, the temple was handed over to the police department, which established a police station in its premises. A public library was set up in the Gurdwara in 2000. PTI MZ IND AKJ IND

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