KARACHI, May 5: Illegal construction in the historic Sindh Assembly building, which is protected under the Sindh Culture Heritage Protection Act, is going on owing to a indifferent attitude of the Sindh culture department, which has so far failed to stop it, it emerged on Saturday.
Nobody, including the owner, could carry out any construction activities in a building protected under the act, which prescribes long prison terms and heavy fines for violators.
When this reporter visited the assembly building on Friday, the construction work was going on in the Room No 103, which had a nameplate of Bashir Ahmed Memon, deputy secretary (regulation), law department. Partition walls had been constructed and an iron frame comprising girders, etc, had been fixed and decorative baked bricks were being shifted from outside the building into the room, probably to construct a mezzanine floor.
Last week, this reporter saw construction work going on in Room No 104, which is also in use of the law department. This Friday, tiles had been fixed on the floor while a mezzanine floor was almost completed and finishing work was being carried out.
Responding to Dawn queries, Sindh Culture Secretary Aziz Uquaily said that he had spoken to Law Secretary Ghulam Nabi Shah and Sindh Assembly Secretary Hadi Bux Buriro to inform them that the work being carried out was illegal and that it should be stopped. “We have not yet written anything to them and hope that they, being responsible government officials, would stop the work,” he added.
Meanwhile, sources in the culture department informed Dawn that a letter had been sent to an official of the works and services department informing him of the illegality and asking him as to who was carrying out the work.
Despite repeated requests, Mr Buriro, the assembly’s secretary, plainly refused to offer any comment on the illegal construction in the building.
Only the Sindh works and services department is authorised to carry out construction/repairs, etc, in the government buildings and the department’s engineer, Mohammad Yusuf, is the officer in charge of the assembly building and only he can carry out any construction work there.
He told Dawn that he was not carrying out the construction work and he did not know who was carrying out the construction work in the assembly building. He said that he knew that the historic Sindh Assembly was a building protected under the heritage act and any kind of construction was not allowed in it.
“I called the assembly secretary Buriro and wanted to meet him but he was in a meeting with the speaker so I could not meet him. I wanted to ask him also who was carrying out the construction, because he being the in charge of the building must know it,” said Mr Yusuf.