KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has ordered contempt proceedings against three officials of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for not complying with its earlier order to demolish concrete structures erected at the historic Frere Hall Gardens.
The single-judge bench headed by Justice Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan asked its office to issue show-cause notices to the director general of parks & horticulture Junaidullah Khan, senior director anti-encroachment Bashir Siddiqui and KMC law officer Azra Muqeem for not enforcing its June 20 order within next two days.
It further said that once the office issued show-cause notices to alleged contemnors, the matter be placed before the chief justice of the SHC under Section 11 (3) of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 for initiating contempt proceedings against them in accordance with law for orders as he may deem fit and proper.
SHC had ruled concrete structure was in violation of cultural heritage property rules
The bench in its order further said that on the last hearing it had only adjourned the matter on the request made by alleged contemnors that they would seek further instructions and proceed to demolish the concrete gates after seeking approval from the authorities concerned, but it had been informed that no such initiative taken.
“This court has already penned down that the concrete structures were inter alia erected in violation of Rule 8(1) of the Sindh Cultural Heritage Property (Identification, Enlistment and Protection) Rules, 2017, which fact is affirmed from the letter issued to the alleged contemnor No.1, D.G parks & horticulture by the deputy director (heritage), directorate general of antiquities & archaeology, culture, tourism, antiquities & archives department, government of Sindh on 17.06.2022,” Justice Khan wrote in his order.
It may be recalled that the bench had passed an order about immediate demolition of the concrete fence around Frere Hall and issued a show-cause notice to the Karachi administrator as well as suspended his intrusion in any heritage building/site on June 20.
The order was passed on a lawsuit filed by Marvi Mazhar against the constructions and fencing being made at Frere Hall in alleged violation of heritage preservation law and preventing visual integrity of iconic building.
However, the KMC had filed an intra-court appeal against the single bench order before a division bench and on June 22, the two-judge bench had ordered to maintain status quo regarding the concrete structures till July 25, issued notices to the defendants and also suspended the directives of the single-bench passed against the administrator.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022