LHC bars authorities from collecting parking, toilet fee at shrines across Punjab

Published June 16, 2021
The LHC chief justice remarked if the Auqaf department was unable to manage shrines, it should be denotified from the responsibility. — File photo
The LHC chief justice remarked if the Auqaf department was unable to manage shrines, it should be denotified from the responsibility. — File photo

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday ordered local authorities to ensure the provision of free services at shrines, including parking, use of toilets and shoe-keeping, for which visitors were previously being charged across the province.

The order was issued by LHC Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan while hearing a petition filed by a citizen, Haq Nawaz, last month against the collection of fees from visitors for the use of washrooms, shoe-keeping, and parking in the premises of shrines across Punjab.

The court also sought a report of collection of funds from all shrines within 15 days.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, the petitioner’s counsel, alleged that the Auqaf department was charging “extortion” from people in the name of toilet and shoe-keeping fee. He further claimed that the department then used the funds for the disbursement of salaries among their employees.

The chief justice remarked that the Auqaf department should be stripped of its responsibility of managing shrines if it was unable to fulfil it.

Terming it "incompetence" of the Auqaf department, the chief justice questioned authorities about the legality of stationing a person at washrooms and the main entrance to charge an amount for keeping a pair of shoes in custody.

Justice Khan also inquired from the government counsel on what grounds were people coming for prayers being charged. He observed that the government must dole out charity funds for the maintenance of washrooms used by visitors. “Charging Rs10 to each visitor for use of washroom is tantamount to denying entry to the shrine,” the chief justice remarked.

He cited a practice employed by the management of a shrine in Golra Sharif, saying they do no charge visitors for this purpose at all.

The chief justice added that he had recently been to Iran, where no such charges were sought from visitors at shrines.

Opinion

Coping with Covid perils
01 Aug 2021

Coping with Covid perils

Little accountability in countries such as India and Pakistan has meant whimsical decision-making.
A missing placard
Updated 01 Aug 2021

A missing placard

Scrutiny, protests, and swift police action are no guarantees of justice.
Urban flood risk
01 Aug 2021

Urban flood risk

Flood risk has been exacerbated by unchecked encroachments.
No woman’s land
Updated 31 Jul 2021

No woman’s land

We don’t just have violent men. We have a violent system.

Editorial

Necessary lockdown
Updated 01 Aug 2021

Necessary lockdown

AS the countrywide positivity ratio of Covid-19 infections crossed 8pc, Sindh imposed a nine-day lockdown effective...
01 Aug 2021

No Olympic glory

FOR about 30 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics weightlifting competition last week, Talha Talib remained in the podium...
01 Aug 2021

Preventable E-11 flooding

THE flooding on Wednesday in Islamabad’s E-11/2 sector is deserving of the shock it has spawned. The flouting of...
China-Taliban meeting
Updated 31 Jul 2021

China-Taliban meeting

WITH the government in Kabul appearing to stand on very fragile foundations, and as the clock ticks down to the ...
31 Jul 2021

Outages in Makran

IT is no surprise that people in Balochistan’s Makran Division have of late taken to the streets to protest in the...
31 Jul 2021

Reduction in polio cases

AFTER the long and tedious efforts of those running the national polio programme, there are signs that Pakistan ...