Islamic cultural centre in Karachi restored to original position

SC disposes of petition as Cinepax vacates alMarkaz-e-Islami

Our Correspondent July 29, 2017
The cinema will begin operations with a single screen hall that has a seating capacity of 300. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) directed on Friday the management of Cinepax and a private contractor to vacate the premises of the alMarkaz-e-Islami, known as the Islamic culture centre, which was converted into a cinema, and hand over its possession back to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, passed this direction after the Cinepax management and contractor informed the court that they were withdrawing their contract with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to run the cinema.

On July 7, the apex court had directed the KMC to restore a portion of the alMarkaz-e-Islami, where a cinema was set-up, back to its original position. During Friday's proceedings, the KMC commissioner filed a compliance report. He informed the court that the Islamic culture centre had been restored to its original position, as it was before conversion into the cinema, in the compliance with the order of the court.

The court was further told that action had been initiated against the KMC officials who were allegedly involved in conversion of the subject premises into the cinema.

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Meanwhile, the court was also told that the private contractor, M/s Funrama, which had handed over the premises to Cinepax after obtaining it from the metropolitan corporation, had ended its contract with the KMC.

The Cinepax management is no longer interested in running the cinema on the subject premises, the judges were told. Therefore, the judges directed the private contractor and Cinepax cinema management to vacate the premises and hand over its possession back to the KMC by Friday (yesterday). With these directives, the apex court disposed of the suo motu proceedings.

Case history

Initially, the Islamic cultural centre was planned during the tenure of then Jamaat-e-Islami mayor Abdul Sattar Afghani. Spreading over six acres of land, the building, named the alMarkaz-e-Islami, was planned in Federal B Area to comprise hostels, a library, picture gallery, research hall for 100 people and an auditorium for around 350 people. Later, during the tenure of the party's Naimatullah Khan, it was planned that a Quran-o-Sunnat Academy would be set up there.

Last year, then chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali had initiated suo motu proceedings based on an application filed by the Jamaat-e-Islami's Karachi amir, Hafiz Naeemur Rehman.

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The top court was previously told by the KMC that the corporation had rented out the auditorium of the Islamic centre to a cinema house for Rs200,000 per month.

According to the JI lawyer, Taufeeq Asif, the auditorium has been used to screen films for the last five years.

He had argued that the Islamic culture centre had been converted into a cinema house, which was an un-Islamic and immoral offence. Asif had informed the court that the building meant for religious cultural activities was rented out by then mayor Syed Mustafa Kamal. He said later the premises were sublet to the Cinepax, which was screening movies in the auditorium by converting it into a cinema.

A lawyer representing the KMC told the court that the corporation had sealed the premises over non-payment of dues, but the private contractor, Cinepax, had obtained a stay order. The court was pleaded to grant leave to appeal against the Sindh High Court's stay and grant a stay against the same.

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The SC was pleaded to order the KMC restore the Islamic culture centre to its original form for the purpose it was established instead of turning into a cinema.

The apex court suspended the stay order granted by the high court and directed the provincial government and KMC authorities to restore the alMarkaz-e-Islami to its original position, as it was before it was turned into a cinema.

The court also referred the matter to the National Accountability Bureau to investigate into the alleged non-payment of the rent to the KMC by Cinepax, as alleged by the former.


sulfi | 6 years ago | Reply NICE DECESSION
Amir | 6 years ago | Reply if I recall this was an MQM and JI tussle
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