Islamabad: Unidentified armed men set ablaze an Art of Living yoga centre established here by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who once offered to hold talks with the Taliban to usher in peace in Pakistan.
The centre, which is based in Peace Street in the upmarket Bani Gala area, was set on fire Saturday evening reportedly by around eight men who entered the premises asking for money, police sources told PTI.
"There were just two guards there. Around eight people came and asked where the money was kept. When guards said they didn't know, they were tied up and the building was set on fire," they said.
The centre was set on fire using petrol. Four rooms of the centre were completely destroyed. Meena Gabeena, an official at the centre said the attackers did not speak a word.
"They just tied the guards and set the building on fire," she told PTI. "Two cars with around eight men came inside and tied two guards. They hit the guards on the head and legs. They burned four rooms completely and there is petrol in other rooms".
She said that when people of nearby areas came and made noise, the miscreants fled.
Gabeena also drew attention to a recent programme aired by a news channels which alleged that the centre was "compromising national security" and challenging Pakistani people's values and lifestyle.
Ravi Shankar had visited Pakistan in 2012 and inaugurated the centre for his Art of Living movement.
He had also offered to hold talks with the Taliban to usher in peace in the region, saying it would help foster understanding among people with divergent views.
"I am ready to go and talk to the Taliban. I want to talk to them, understand them and give them my opinion. So we can definitely make a difference. We should try it again and again even if we have to try it 100 times," Shankar had said.
Art of Living operates globally in 152 countries. It has three centres in Pakistan in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.