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Advani launches temple restoration work in Pak

Press Trust of India

Posted: Jun 02, 2005 at 2031 hrs IST

Symbolic of the winds of change sweeping the sub-continent, BJP President L.K. Advani, widely perceived in Pakistan as the man behind the Babri mosque demolition, on Thursday launched the restoration work of the ancient Shaivite shrine of Katasraj, about 30 km from Chakwal.

Significantly, the Opposition leader launched the project in the presence of Shujaat Hussain, President of the ruling PML-Q, an avataar of the Muslim League considered responsible for the subcontinent's partition.

"We travel hand-in-hand on the road to peace. We stand together on the way to peace' said banners put up by the Chakwal district government on way to second most sacred shrine of the Hindus in pre-partition Punjab, after Jwalamukhi in the present Himachal Pradesh. I feel happy. This initiative will add a new chapter and strengthen the ongoing peace process," an elated Advani told reporters after unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.

Accompanied by his wife Kamala and daughter Pratibha, the BJP chief toured the temple ruins and offered prayers at the ancient Shiva Linga in the presence of Pakistani Hindu priest Pandit Kanshi Ram amidst chanting of 'Om Namah Shivaya' and burning of incense sticks.

Describing the event as 'landmark and historic', Hussain said the stone marking the inauguration was in fact 'a milestone for peace.'

"It has a special significance for me and my country. It will further strengthen the political process," he said.

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