Lahore: A crematorium developed at a cost of Rs. 16 million for Hindus and Sikhs was inaugurated here 18 years after the Pakistani government allocated the land for it.
Federal Minister of Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Dr Aamir Ahmed inaugurated the crematorium at Babu Sabu Chowk near the Ravi River.
ETPB spokesperson Amir Hashmi told PTI that the government had allocated 35 kanals (4.3 acres) of land in 2002 near the Ravi River for Hindus and Sikhs to cremate their dead.
"In addition to the crematorium, six rooms have been built, three each for the Sikhs and Hindus, to perform the last rites of their dead. Also, four washrooms have been built, he said.
It is located on the river bank so that the ashes can be disposed of in accordance with the tradition, he said.
Hindus of Lahore used to cremate the deceased on the banks of Ravi with the permission of the city district government. Both Hindus and Sikhs would take bodies to Nankana Sahib, some 80-kilometres from Lahore, for cremation.
Pakistan Hindu Welfare Council head Dr Munawar Chand, Pakistan Gurdwara Parbhandhik Committee pradhan (president) Sardar Satwant Singh, secretary-general Sardar Amir Singh, former pradhan Sardar Bishan Singh, ETPB additional secretary Sheraz Muhammad Tariq and ETPB deputy secretary Faraz Abbas were present at the inauguration ceremony.
The government has accepted our demands that last rites should only be performed in a Shamshan Ghat. Now it is available in Lahore which is a big relief for Pakistani Hindu community, Chan said.