The Supreme Court has given the Sindh High Court one month to decide whether or not the Hindu Gymkhana will stay with the art school or go to the Hindu community.
The apex court’s three-member bench was hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Hindu Council demanding the historic building be returned to them. The building is currently under the possession of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa). Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who headed the bench, also granted leave to appeal against the lease of the historic Hindu Gymkhana.
On Thursday, the additional advocate-general Adnan Karim Memon informed that the Gymkhana was transferred by the federal government to the Sindh culture department in 1991 to establish a centre of arts and crafts. In September 2005, the Gymkhana was rented out to Zia Mohyeddin for a period of 30 years to set up Napa. The petition claimed, however, that Napa violated the agreement by building an auditorium within the premises, without seeking permission from the landlord.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, who appeared for Napa, said they have not changed the character of the main building and the construction is being carried out in an empty land. Napa has filed a petition before the SHC which is pending decision, he said, mentioning two other petitions that are awaiting decisions.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2014.
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