Pak court stops renaming of roundabout after Bhagat Singh
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Days after an official panel endorsed the renaming of a roundabout in Lahore after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh despite opposition from the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a Pakistani court on Friday barred authorities from going ahead with the move.
Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh of the Lahore High Court stopped the Punjab government from renaming Shadman Chowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk in response to a petition filed by Tehrik Hurmat-e-Rasool, a movement launched by the JuD.
The judge issued notices to the Punjab government, the City District Government of Lahore, the Dilkash Lahore committee and the Bhagat Singh Foundation to file their responses to the petition by November 29.
Zahid Butt, who filed the petition on behalf of Tehrik Hurmat-e-Rasool, alleged that Indian spy agency RAW had funded the Bhagat Singh Foundation to raise the issue of renaming Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh. He claimed the Foundation had lobbied with the Dilkash Lahore committee, which had endorsed the move to rename the roundabout after Bhagat Singh.
Senior JuD leader Amir Hamza is the head of the Tehrik Hurmat-e-Rasool.
Hamza had said his organisation would not allow places in Lahore to be renamed after Hindus, Sikhs or Christians. "Pakistan is a Muslim country and such ideas cannot be appreciated," he had said.
About two weeks ago, the City District Government of Lahore had put on hold a move to rename Shadman Chowk due to objections from hardline groups like the JuD and Jamaat-e-Islami and a section of local residents. The matter was referred to Dilkash Lahore, a panel set up to revitalise and beautify Lahore.