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Possession of Hindu Gymkhana SC directs SHC to decide the case within a month.

KARACHI -- Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Thursday directed Sindh High Court to decide the case regarding the possession of Hindu Gymkhana within a month time.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Tassadaq Hussain Jilani and comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard different petitions regarding the control places of worships of Hindus, including the possession of Hindu Gymkhana here at the Supreme Court's Karachi registry.

Advocate General Sindh submitted that the 'Asharam' within the boundary wall of a primary school in Tando Adam had already been declared a cultural heritage and that there was no restriction on Hindu community to come and use it as 'Asharam'.

On the onset of proceedings additional Advocate General Sindh filed a written statement on behalf of the Culture Department regarding the Hindu Gymkhana. The statement reads that the Hindu Gymkhana situated opposite to Arts Council on M.R. Kyani Road, Karachi was a protected heritage under Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act, 1994.

"This building is also a protected heritage under Building Control Ordinance, 1979 and included in the list of "Structure of Special Architectural and Historical Interest of" Karachi" it reads, adding that the Gymkhana was transferred by Federal Government to Government of Sindh in 1991 for establishment of a Centre of Arts and Crafts.

The renovation of the building was carried out in 1994, after taking over by Sindh Culture Department in 1993, the bench was informed.

The apex bench was told that in September 2005, on the directives of the then President of Pakistan, Hindu Gymkhana was rented out to Zia Mohiuddin for a period of thirty (30) years for establishing National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA).

In violation of law and terms of the tenancy agreement, NAPA started construction of a Theater / Auditorium within the premises of Hindu Gymkhana, without seeking permission from the landlord (Culture Department). The bench was told that construction was challenged but NAPA filed a civil suit in the High Court of Sindh, which granted stay in the matter. The matter is still pending decision of the court, the court was informed.

Subsequently, the court directed High Court of Sindh to decide both the cases preferably within a month of the receipt of the order.

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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 28, 2014
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