Hindu community wants gymkhana vacated

Culture minister accused of favouring alleged illegal occupation of building


Our Correspondent June 19, 2017
A group claiming to be a representative of the Hindu community in the province, made a request to the Sindh High Court to allow them celebrate Holi at the Gymkhana. PHOTO: FILE

HYDERABAD: The general secretary of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz's (PML-N) provincial minority wing, Kheal Das Kohistani, has decried Sindh Culture Minister Syed Sardar Shah's alleged support of the occupation of the Hindu Gymkhana in Karachi. At a press conference on Sunday in Hyderabad, Kohistani said that instead of giving an alternative building or piece land to the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), the provincial minister supports the alleged illegal occupation.

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"We also love music. We don't want NAPA to close its institution, only to vacate the Hindu Gymkhana, which was established in 1920 for the community. We want NAPA to relocate its institute to some other place," Kohistani said. He wondered why the provincial government, which owns thousands of acres of land in Karachi, does not provide land to NAPA for establishing its own institute.

The Hindu Gymkhana was handed over to NAPA during former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's tenure. However, the former provincial culture minister, Sassui Palijo, issued a notice to NAPA to vacate the place within 90 days.

But that notice was challenged in the court of law and the matter is still pending. According to Kohistani, Sharmila Faruqi, who followed Palijo as the culture adviser, also supported the Hindu community's stance.

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"It's deplorable that Shah is supporting a dictator's policy of keeping the gymkhana away from the Hindus of Karachi," he alleged.

The gymkhana was established for the promotion of social, cultural and religious activities of Hindus. But the government took control of it as an evacuee trust property after 1947. The building was declared a heritage site but during Musharraf's tenure it was leased to NAPA for 30 years.

COMMENTS (3)

S | 4 years ago | Reply Ok, it should be handed over to them, MAY BE. I have been seeing this building for about 20 years or so, I also saw it from inside when there were just straws, uncut grass and street dogs loitering around. Where were the claimers at that time??
Tehsin Sharif | 4 years ago | Reply The question is that is Hindu's are returning the Muslims properties in India. On the reciprocal basis yes we are ready. By the way these Hindus are not the owner of this properties. Thesee properties were vacant and available for the new Govt. Of each side. And all said and done they are already in the custody of Heritage building.
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