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SC issues notice to Sindh govt over legal status of Sukkur Press Club building

February 13, 2019

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Eviction notice states that the building is liable to be demolished in line with a Supreme Court order regarding removal of encroachments from all recreational and amusement parks. — AFP/File
Eviction notice states that the building is liable to be demolished in line with a Supreme Court order regarding removal of encroachments from all recreational and amusement parks. — AFP/File

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Sindh government seeking its reply on whether the Sukkur Press Club building has been built legally.

Last month, an eviction notice had been served to the press club by the district administration, sparking a wave of anger among media personnel, who had taken to the streets and vowed to fight their case at an appropriate forum.

The press club stands on a portion of the Mohammad Bin Qasim Park at Dolphin Chowk. The notice states that the building is liable to be demolished in line with a Supreme Court order regarding removal of encroachments from all recreational and amusement parks.

Subsequently, a legal team of the press club had filed a constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) Sukkur bench against the district administration’s move. The SHC had rejected the petition.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, on Wednesday took up the petition by Javed Memon, the president of the club, asking that the provincial government be refrained from demolishing the building.

The counsel for the petitioner said that the building was part of cultural heritage and that the plot was allotted to the press club.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, however, questioned how an amenity plot could be allotted to a press club. The counsel responded that it was not an amenity plot, neither it was a part of a park. The building doesn't fall under the apex court's orders on removal of encroachments, he added.

He argued that the demolition order was passed on the basis that it had been built on the land of a park. He maintained that the park was built during the tenure of a British commissioner in 1919. The old building of the press club was also built on the same place in 1919.

The counsel asked the bench to refrain Sukkur Municipal Corporation from demolishing the building which he said was attempting to knock down the structure every other day. Justice Gulzar responded that if a court issues a notice, it translates into a stay.

The hearing of the case was deferred for an indefinite period.