Pakistan puts on hold plan to rename roundabout after Bhagat Singh
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Giving in to the pressure from hardline groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and a section of local residents, Pakistani authorities have put on hold a move to rename a roundabout in Lahore after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
The City District Government of Lahore had announced last month that Shadman Chowk would be renamed Bhagat Singh Chowk to acknowledge his revolutionary spirit and his role in the movement against the erstwhile British rulers of the
District administration chief Noorul Amin Mengal, who made the decision to rename the roundabout, came down hard on officials of his department for not placing a board inscribed with "Bhagat Singh Chowk" at the spot.
However, authorities have still not placed the board at the roundabout and officials today said that the move to rename Shadman Chowk had been put on hold.
"We received a strongly worded letter from the JuD that warned us not to rename Shadman Chowk after a Hindu freedom fighter. Besides, we also got a negative response from some individuals," an official of the City District Government said.
During a public hearing on the issue, several persons rejected the idea of renaming Shadman Chowk after Bhagat Singh, said the official who did not want to be named.
The official, who is close to the district administrationchief, said Mengal was criticised by different segments of society and groups like the JuD and Jamaat-e-Islami for "paying tribute to Bhagat Singh" and his plan to rename the roundabout.
The officials said the opponents of the move were of the view that Pakistan is a Muslim country and its roads and squares should be named after Muslims, not Hindus or Sikhs.
In a recent statement, senior JuD leader Amir Hamza said: "We will not allow the renaming of places after Hindus, Sikhs or Christians".
He said Pakistan is a Muslim country and such ideas could not be appreciated.
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