No concessions: Seminaries, hostels in DHA to be shut down

Residential blocks inside mosques violate by-laws, DHA secretary told the court.


Naeem Sahoutara December 22, 2012

KARACHI:


All seminaries and their residential blocks in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) are to be shut down, the housing authority told the court.


In view of the prevailing law and order situation, all mosques within the Defence Officers Housing Authority’s administrative jurisdictions have been directed to wind up their religious schools residential blocks accommodating seminary students. The decision was taken following the use of mosques for residential purposes in violation of the DHA’s building by-laws and a growing unease among the residents in the vicinity of worship places.

These details were shared by Lt. Col. (retd) Amjad Rasheed, the DHA secretary, before the Sindh High Court on Thursday. DHA had ordered a mosque, Jamia Ilmia, to shut down its seminary and residential blocks, after which the seminary’s principal, Syed Fayyaz Hussain Naqvi, took the housing authority to court.

Since 1985, the madressah has been educating students on holy Quran, Nazira, Tajweed, Qira’t and Tafseer among other basic Islamic education from matriculation up to Master’s level, he submitted.

Affiliated with the Wafaqul Madaris alShia, he continued, the Jamia Ilmia Trust has acquired prerequisite permissions from DHA to construct a mosque, seminary and hostel, as well as, the proposed Isna Ashri Complex.

Amjad Rasheed,

Although there was no compliant against the seminary, the DHA was asking the management to close the seminary, Naqvi added.

The high court had earlier directed the DHA authorities to explain the allegations made in the petition. Filing his comments on Thursday, the DHA secretary claimed that they never gave permission for the construction of a seminary or a hostel, even though the Jamia Ilmia Trust was registered with the authority. The permission was granted by the cantonment board, he added. Rasheed said such notices were issued to all mosques within the DHA jurisdictions “without any discrimination”, making it clear that the mosques may only be used for prayers and teaching the Quran.

On November 11 last year, Rasheed had assured the citizens that action would be taken for the closure of hostels within a month but a lenient view was taken while dealing with the petitioner. “The DHA shall take all steps to ensure a peaceful atmosphere due to the prevailing [security] situation,” said Rasheed, appealing for a dismissal of the petition.

The judges put off the hearing to February 5, 2013, after the petitioner’s lawyer requested some time to review the secretary’s comments and file his replies.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2012. 

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