Commercial plaza being built on 90-year-old land
The Supreme Court has instructed the Federal Investigation Agency to produce evidence and register an FIR against those responsible for encroaching land allotted to the 716-square-yard Hindu Dharamshala (a shelter for Hindu pilgrims) in Karachi’s Saddar.
At a hearing on Friday, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, told Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed that a commercial plaza was being built on the land.
The chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board argued that the land dated back centuries and was abandoned for years. “Under these conditions, construction on it is allowed.”
The top judge got irked by this. “Does this mean you will raze all old buildings in the city? You couldn’t even preserve a 90-year-old Dharamshala,” Justice Ahmed said, disappointed.
“Chairman sahab, you can’t run away from your responsibilities,” he pointed out.
The court recalled that the FIA has been unable to investigate the Jain Mandir and Neela Gumbat case in Lahore. “Stop harassing people. People shouldn’t be scared of the FIA.”
The chief justice added that the government has constructed the historic Kartarpur Corridor. It is important to protect other minority spaces in the country too.
Earlier this year, the apex court has stopped the Sindh government from demolishing any part of the Dharamshala. The commissioner of Karachi was further instructed to take over the building so that no person trespassed upon it.
The orders were passed during the suo motu hearing of the vandalising and burning of a Samadhi (shrine) of a Hindu Saint in Teri, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
During the proceeding, Dr Ramesh revealed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa hospitals have failed to provide basic facilities to minorities at hospitals.
The court, subsequently, called the chief secretary of the province to the rostrum. “I have been recently appointed and have managed to just visit one hospital so far,” he said.
“This statement doesn’t suit you. There are facilities for you but none for the people,” the chief justice said and summoned a report on all public hospitals in KP within a month.