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KARACHI: The provincial legislature was informed on Thursday that the main shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar had duly been constructed while the maintenance works on the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai was being carried out from time to time.

Replying to a question asked by MPA Naila Munir in the Sindh Assembly’s question hour session, special assistant to the chief minister on Auqaf, Ghulam Shah Jilani, said as regards the steps taken by the department vis-à-vis preservation of Shah Latif’s shrine, its substructure and superstructure were in original positions despite passage of time and thermal chances.

However, he added, the maintenance works were carried out from time to time at the shrine.

Regarding the preservation of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine, Mr Jilani said the main shrine was duly constructed with allied facilities at the dhamal court, Shia mosque, Sunni mosque, musafirkhana, the rest house, lavatory blocks and the Golden Gate side.

He said the maintenance works were carried out by the works and services department.

To another question asked by Khairunnisa Mughal seeking confirmation from the government that whether the ancient shrine of Garhore Sharif in Mirpurkhas was in a ruined condition, the special assistant to the chief minister said the Garhore Sharif shrine was not under the administrative control of the Auqaf department, thus, it was not aware about its current condition.

To a related query, Mr Jilani said so far there was no plan under consideration of the department to repair and renovate the shrine because its control was not with the Auqaf authorities.

To another question asked by the same MPA, he said the land of the Auqaf department in Mirpurkhas was not under the possession of influential individuals as being reported in the section of media.

He said the department auctioned and leased out the agriculture land according to the section 7(a) of Waqf Property (Administration) Rules, 1960, which said the lease should be in writing and the period of lease should not exceed three years provided that the chief administrator might grant a lease of any longer period if in his/her opinion such action was necessary in the best interest of the Waqf property.

Besides, said Mr Jilani, as far as possible the lease should be made through auction in favour of the highest bidder, auction being held on the spot or at such other place close to it as might be easily accessible to the attending bidders.

“The successful bidder shall deposit one year’s rent in advance at the time of auction and this amount shall be adjustment towards the rent of the final years.”

Two inter-related questions asked by Kamran Akhtar in which he sought details of the appointments made during fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17, Mr Jilani said in both cases no appointments had been made.

He said the Sindh High Court in a constitutional petition of 2013 had prohibited appointments.

To another question by Mr Akhtar seeking details of shrine-wise amount collected by the Auqaf department from each shrine in the province during 2015 and 2016 along with heads under which the same were utilised, the special assistant said all the details had been provided to the member.

He further said the amount collected from the Nazrana boxes and from other means was deposited in the account No.1 of the Sindh government.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018