SHC dismisses earlier decision preventing PCB chief from claiming Bhopal House

Sheharyar Khan had claimed property of ancestral home located in Clifton


Naeem Sahoutara June 22, 2016
Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Sheharyar Khan. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has suspended a single-bench judgment that had rejected the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairperson Sheharyar Khan's claim over his ancestral property of Bhopal House, located in Clifton.

Headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, the division bench also issued notices to the works division secretary, the chief engineer for Pakistan Public Works Department of the Ministry of Works and Housing and the chief engineer of Karachi Civil Control Division to file their comments regarding the actual ownership of the property by August 15.

The lawsuit claiming property of the Bhopal House was filed by Sheharyar Khan, son of the late Nawab Sarwar Ali Khan, jointly with Princess Abida Sultan, the daughter of the late Nawab of the State of Bhopal, Hamidullah Khan.

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On June 4 this year, an SHC single bench headed by Justice Mahmood A Khan passed the judgement and a subsequent decree, dismissing the PCB chief's lawsuit for the ownership and possession of Bhopal House.

The petitioners appealed before the division bench against this judgement. They told the judges that Princess Sultan migrated to Pakistan after Partition.

The late Nawab Hamidullah Khan owned Bhopal House on the Survey No. 25 and 26, Sheet No. CF1/5, 2233 and 2459 located in Clifton Quarters Karachi. The late Nawab had purchased this property from Seth Mulchand Mohatta on April 1, 1947, through a sale deed. Later, the custodian of the Evacuee Properties in Karachi had also confirmed mutation of the subject property on September 13, 1955, which was never challenged by the authorities.



The judges were informed that after Partition, Karachi was made temporary capital of the newly created state, when Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah requested Nawab Hamidullah to temporarily allow them to use the two bungalows on the property. Through a letter dated July 12, 1947, the late Nawab allowed the use of his property for a period of five to 10 years.

It was claimed that Jinnah had requested for property till the permanent capital of the country was established, which finally happened in 1960. The plaintiffs recalled that the foreign ministry used the subject property till 1962 but did not return it to Princess Sultan, who herself migrated to Pakistan and served in the foreign department. Afterwards, the building was used by the Intelligence Bureau.

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The single bench had observed that the property was on the heritage list, thus could not be considered in accordance with the law for its possession to the plaintiffs.

The court was pleaded to declare that the property belongs to the plaintiffs. It was also requested to set aside the single bench's judgment and decree.

After the initial hearing on the appeal, the division bench stayed implementation on the judgment of the single bench. Meanwhile, notices were issued to the federal authorities to file their comments by August 15.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2016.

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