Pakistan’s Indication To Open Sharda Peeth Is A Major Development

SRINAGAR: Imran Khan led government has indicated that it will, in coming days, open the Sharda Peeth – an ancient Hindu University, for the pilgrims. This will be a huge confidence builder after the Kartarpur corridor opening, reports in media suggested.

Ruins of Sharda Peeth shrine in Neelum Valley of PaK.

“Pakistan has decided to open the Sharda temple. Work on the project will start from the current year after which Hindus in Pakistan will also be able to visit the site,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the National Assembly (MNA) Ramesh Kumar has told the Pakistan newspaper Express Tribune. “I am going to visit the place in a couple of days. I will also send a report to Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

The opening of the site has been a perennial demand for the Kashmiri Pandits who see the site as sacred.

The Peeth is a two structure premises, not far away from Karnah, on the other side of the Line of Control in Neelam Valley. It has the ruins of the earliest education premises in the region and a temple as well. Though there is nothing exactly known about when the Peeth started but it is widely being believed to be around five millennia old. Both the structures are in ruins. It is located near the meeting spot of three rivulets, the Neelam (Kishanganga), Madhumati and the Sargun.

Though there has not been any response to the news at the official level Delhi, Kashmir’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the newsbreak. “Not too long ago I had written to PM imploring GoI to reopen Sharda Peeth, a temple across LoC for Kashmiri Pandits,” Mehbooba wrote on twitter. “An initiative like this at a time when Indo – Pak tensions are at an all-time high could help navigate the current impasse.”

Omar Abdullah also welcomed the idea. “It’s good to see @ImranKhanPTI take decisions that have been held up for years. Allowing greater people to people contact & opening routes to religious pilgrims are always welcome developments that help to ease tensions,” Omar said in the first of a series of tweets on the development. “One can only hope that in a post May 23rd India these steps will be reciprocated by the central government & we can move towards resuming the comprehensive dialogue between India & Pakistan.”

“After the welcome announcement to open the Sharda Peeth corridor to religious pilgrims by @ImranKhanPTI we hope the government in Pakistan will only announce the Kargil-Skardu road as also other routes to facilitate greater people to people contact,” Omar suggested.

Reports appearing in the media said the foreign ministry in India had sent a letter to Pakistan and the idea was mooted in its response.

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