KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday suspended the permission granted by local administration for holding a “marginalised community-based festival” at a Clifton park on Saturday (today).

A non-governmental organisation petitioned the SHC alleging that the organisers were holding the Scrap Fest, an LGBTQ event.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued pre-admission notices to the Karachi commissioner, deputy commissioner (South) and other respondents as well advocate general for Feb 9.

It also directed the DC and SSP-South to be in attendance on the next date of hearing along with relevant record.

“In the meanwhile, the permission/NOC granted by the respondents to hold the aforesaid festival/event on 04.02.2023 shall remain suspended. The official respondents are directed to ensure that no such festival/event shall be allowed to take place without permission of the court,” the bench ruled in its order.

The general secretary of Al-Siddique Welfare Society filed the petition stating that the permission for Scrap Fest was illegally granted in the grab of a “marginalised community based festival”.

The petitioner’s lawyer sought a restraining order against holding of such an event at the Urban Forest Park located at Block-5 in Clifton.

The counsel argued that the no-objection certificate was issued for holding the event on an amenity plot, which has been reserved for plantation and greenery only and cannot be used for any other purpose.

He maintained that the permission had been awarded without completing codal formalities or inviting objections from public and residents of area.

The lawyer submitted that the area residents had approached authorities requesting them to stop the event.

“It has been prayed that unless restraining orders are passed there is apprehension that law and order will be created, as the proposed event has been advertised in social media, which has seriously hurt the religious sentiment of a large number of residents of the area in particular, including petitioner and the citizen of Pakistan, in general, who are by majority Muslims and firm believers of Islamic Injunctions and observers of high moral values,” the order stated.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023

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