To celebrate the return of Ram, Hindus living in Abbottabad, Mansehra and other parts of Hazara will arrange fireworks, while men, women and children will be out in their colourful best to celebrate the occasion.
According to Shiv Temple Society Pakistan President Sham Lal, pundits would lead the pooja in the 2,000-year-old place of worship in Gandiyan village of Mansehra district on Saturday, the last day of Diwali. He said prayers would be offered for the progress of Pakistan and interfaith harmony in the country. They would also distribute prasad among worshippers.
Om Darshan Lal, the pujari of the Shiv Temple, demanded that the temple near the Abbottabad telephone exchange be handed over to the Hindu community as the Cantonment Board Abbottabad (CBA) had promised them an alternative place of worship in the city. He said the temple had been closed around a month ago by cantonment authorities due to security reasons. However, he claimed that the CBA administration failed to deliver on its promises of reopening the place of worship.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2014.