KARACHI: The builder who allegedly demolished the temple in Soldier Bazaar on Saturday has gone to court against the media for distorting the news in favour of the community.
Builder Ameen Lakhani, his partner, Muhammad Shoaib, and a man who claimed to be the owner of the plot, Ismail Gora, went to the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday. Ismail claimed that he possesses documents that confirm his ownership of the disputed property on plot no. 39 in Dolly Khatta neighbourhood.
Earlier on Saturday, the residents went to the court and requested the judges to restrain the builders from demolishing Shri Rama Pir Mandir, which is reportedly located on the same plot. The judges granted the stay order while the builders went ahead and demolished the alleged encroachments.
According to Ismail, Ram Chander, Jay Prakash and Panchoo Shankar, who claimed to be poojari and shewadris of the temple, have encroached upon his land on the pretext of the temple and are blackmailing the petitioners and the administration, including the police. He said that these men misled the Hindu community and the rest of the residents in the name of religion and took over 100 square yards of his property. The Military Estates Officer ordered the removal of the encroachment since it falls under cantonment jurisdiction, he claimed. The encroachers portrayed it as a religious dispute on television channels, he added.
Ismail, Lakhani and Shoaib requested the court to restrain the police from registering any case against them or dispossesse them from the land. He pleaded that an inquiry be conducted at the level of a DIG-rank officer. They also requested the court to direct the government agencies to make sure that news channels refrain from addressing this highly sensitive matter.
“The way the media has reported the issue, it has given an impression that this is a religious dispute,” Shoaib told The Express Tribune later. “It gives Pakistan a bad name in the world.”
On Wednesday, the Sindh High Court bench, headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir, directed the police and other officials to deal with this issue in accordance with the law. Justice Baqir also issued notices to the defence secretary, Military Estates Officer, Karachi, city TPO, Nabi Bux police SHO, and three private Hindu litigants, who had taken the matter to court earlier.
Until December 17, the respondents shall not indulge in any illegal or unlawful act in the matter and shall conduct themselves in a manner strictly in accordance with the law, said the court order. Meanwhile, the deputy attorney general and Sindh advocate general have also been told to file the comments of the federal and provincial authorities by December 17.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2012.
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