Supreme Court irked by delay in vacating Hindu Gymkhana in Karachi

Published October 28, 2021
A file view of the Hindu Gymkhana in Karachi. — AFP
A file view of the Hindu Gymkhana in Karachi. — AFP

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed concern over an inordinate delay in getting vacated the heritage building of Hindu Gymkhana that currently houses the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) and not providing an alternative land to the academy.

The court directed the authorities concerned to submit a report till Oct 29 (tomorrow).

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed said that the apex court had been issuing directives to authorities for the past three years to get the building vacated and grant substitute land to Napa, but the officials were shifting responsibility to each others.

The provincial culture secretary appeared in court and submitted that he took charge a week ago and his predecessor had sent the matter about alternative land to commissioner Karachi. The bench directed officials to file a report about alternative land to Napa on Friday.

A petition was filed by Shree Ratneshwar Mahadev Welfare in 2014 submitting that the heritage site belonged to the Hindu community of Karachi before partition as the gymkhana building was established for the promotion of social and religious activities of Hindus, but the government took it over as an evacuee trust property after partition.

The petitioner argued that a directive may be issued to Napa to vacate the building and hand it over to the Hindu community.

Meanwhile, the bench directed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to remove encroachments around a nullah in PECHS after the KMC argued that society had built shops on a drain.

However, the lawyer for the society submitted that they had not made any construction on the nullah land.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2021

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