While calling Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) a ‘land mafia’, Pakistan’s prominent Hindu leader Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has alleged that ETPB has ‘recruited’ Sikh and Hindu leaders on its payroll to issue statements that suit its interests to siphon off government funds and give religious properties of minority communities on lease to make money.
While talking to Zee News, Vankwani who is also Member National Assembly (MNA) of Pakistan PM Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party alleged that ETPB was knee-deep in corruption and had given several Gurdwara and temples on lease to private parties in return for the huge amount which, he alleged, was being divided among the ETPB officials.
He claimed that there were 1,822 Hindu temples and 588 gurdwara’s in Pakistan out of which only 31 were functional while the majority from the rest of them had been given on lease by ETPB officials. He wondered why the Pakistan government didn’t appoint a Hindu as Chairman of ETPB who would have a better understanding of the issues.
“Earlier I had recommended that late acting chief justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan Rana Bhagwan Das should be appointed but Mian Nawaz Sharif decided to appoint Saddiq-ul-Farooq and not the PTI, then Hindu community was expecting that Vishwa Raja Kavi would be appointed as ETPB chairman but PTI government picked up Aamar Ahmad,” he said.
He alleged that to usurp properties of both Hindu and Sikh communities, ETPB had a few Hindu and Sikh leaders ‘recruited’ on its payroll who gives statements as directed by ETPB. “Even the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is a nonexistent body and has no significance of its own, even a few Hindu leaders who issue statements are on the payroll of ETPB,” he alleged adding that these were the leaders who even issued statements against him allegedly on the instigation of ETPB officials.
Earlier PSGPC leaders including its president Satwant Singh, former president Bishan Singh, Hindu leader Munawar Chand, etc had blamed Vankwani for allegedly maligning the image of ETPB and PSGPC. However, they had hailed the role played by ETPB for carrying out unprecedented development of temples and Gurdwara’s and protecting their properties from land mafias.
Reportedly PSGPC president Satwant Singh had also blamed Vankwani for creating a division among Hindu’s and Sikh’s and had cautioned the minorities to be aware of his designs.