Lahore: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday directed authorities in Punjab province to remove encroachments from a Hindu graveyard in Lahore within 30 days.
A division bench of the apex court issued orders for removing the encroachments to the Punjab Chief Secretary, the director general of the Lahore Development Authority and the Lahore administration chief during a hearing held here.
The graveyard at Bhuduawa on GT Road is used by the Balmiki community, which buries its dead.
The bench further directed the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces to submit a detailed report about graveyards of minority communities and arrangements made for their upkeep.
The bench also issued a notice to religious and minority affairs secretary and sought a report.
It summoned the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association to act as a amicus curiae (friend of the court) at the next hearing to be held in the last week of September.
The bench passed the orders in response to an application filed by Amarnath Randhawa, general secretary of the Hindu Sudhar Sabha, regarding the encroachment of the Hindu graveyard.
During the hearing, officials acknowledged that three men had encroached on a part of the graveyard.
Heera Lal, chairman of the Hindu Sudhar Sabha, said Hindus were not being allowed to use the graveyard since 1984.
The bench observed that the matter had earlier been referred in 1986 to the Collector of Lahore Cantonment, who had issued orders to remove the encroachments.
After hearing all the arguments, the judges declared that the encroachments had violated the rights of the minorities granted by the Constitution.