KARACHI, Sept 17 The Sindh government has “advised” the Pakistan Rangers to stop construction activities at once in the Jinnah Courts which is protected under the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994.
The advice has been communicated through a letter written on the basis of the media reports which said that the Pakistan Rangers were carrying out construction activities in their temporary headquarters, Jinnah Courts — a protected heritage site where such activities are not allowed under the act that prescribes long prison terms and heavy fines for the violators.
A Pakistan Rangers spokesperson when contacted on Tuesday regarding the status of the construction after getting the questions said that he would get the answers from the relevant people and provide these to the reporter.
However, he did not do the same though various attempts were made through his cellphone as well till Friday.
The Sindh Culture department section officer, Shahbaz Khokhar, through a Sept 9, 2010 communication — marked as “urgent” and by “fax” — on the subject of “Illegal construction in Jinnah Courts Building” approached “Major Tariq Anwer Khan, Headquarters Pakistan Rangers Sindh, Muslim Jinnah Court Building, Dr Ziauddin Ahmad Road, Karachi.”
Mr Khokhar, in his communication — No.OSD/CHC/3-74/98/1289 — says, “I am directed to refer to the subject noted above and to enclose herewith a copy of press clipping of daily Dawn published on Sept 5, 2010 regarding the subject noted above. Please note that any construction within premises of Jinnah Courts, which is a declared heritage property, is a violation of Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994.
“You are advised to stop construction activity at once as the said act does not allow any alteration or addition within the boundary walls of the declared heritage property.
“The application along with layout / plan / map for permission of execution of work, if any may be sent to this department so that the same could be placed before the advisory committee which is headed by the chief secretary Sindh for consideration and decision,” concludes the communication, a copy of which is available with Dawn.
Responding to Dawn queries on Tuesday, Sindh culture secretary Ahmed Bux Narejo said that a letter had been sent to the Rangers before Eid holidays advising them to stop the construction activities in the Jinnah Courts.
He said that soon it would be clear what the Rangers were constructing in the protected heritage site.
Sources, however, said that although the Sindh culture department had sent the letter before Eid, the construction work had continued within the premises of the protected heritage site.