KARACHI: A technical committee of the provincial culture and heritage department is meeting today to reconsider a list that declared 1,061 buildings as protected heritage sites, the Sindh High Court (SHC) was informed on Thursday.
It is likely that the immovable properties involved in all or most of these cases, especially the ones the petitioners have claimed are not heritage buildings, may be deleted from the list or the entire list may be revised, the additional advocate-general (AAG), Miran Muhammad Shah, submitted before a division bench.
The bench, headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar, was hearing several petitions filed by people who do not want their properties to be declared as protected heritage. After the provincial law officer's statement, the bench adjourned the hearing till May 24 when the officer will inform them about the decision taken by the technical committee.
One of the petitioners, Karachi Investment Company Private Limited, had challenged the 2011 decision to declare the Hotel Metropole building in Karachi as protected heritage. The company said it had acquired ownership of the land and the building belonging to Hotel Metropole in 1967. Today, many commercial offices have been rented out to different parties.
The judges were told that the culture department issued a notification declaring 1,061 buildings, including Hotel Metropole, as protected heritage site. "The entire architecture of the building has been demolished or renovated," the petitioner pointed out. "In 2006, major structure was also demolished by the (then) Karachi Building Control Authority."
The petitioner claimed that the building had no more archaeological value, thus it should not be declared as a protected heritage site as it will cause a loss to the petitioner.
In five other applications, the petitioners had challenged the inclusion of private properties in the list of those declared as protected heritage by the culture and heritage department in 2011.
During a joint hearing on Thursday, AAG Shah informed the judges that the technical committee of the provincial culture and heritage department will meet on Friday to reconsider the list that declared 1,061 buildings as protected heritage sites.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2016.