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.
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