HA Rehman, the lawyer representing the religious Hindu minority, told The Express Tribune that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had already granted a stay order on July 10 against any possible demolition activity either by the private builder, police or the Military Estates Office — all listed as parties in the petition.
“Their lawyer got the petition of my clients dismissed by claiming to be their representative, thus he misguided the superior court,” alleged Rehman – an act that might result in cancellation of the other lawyer’s practice licence. “In this particular case, my petition was dismissed for non-prosecution. But, the stay order issued earlier is still [in effect]. In these circumstances, demolition activity is tantamount to wilfully committing contempt of the court’s order,” he insisted.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the damaged Shri Rama Pir Mandir is the property of the Evacuee Property Trust Board.
Rehman also said that the demolition carried out was illegal since the temple was the property of the Evacuee Property Trust Board. “Who gave the cantonment and the builder the right to destroy it? It wasn’t their property,” Rehman stated.
The lawyer added that he will file a damages suit against the demolition of the pre-partition temple. He said that the houses which were damaged included the lodgings of the caretaker of the temple and came within its jurisdiction, and that the people, who along with their ancestors had been living in the area for over a century, were not encroachers. (WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CORRESPONDENT IN KARACHI)
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2012.