Pakistan Supreme Court has issued an order staying all demolition activities at an almost 90-year-old dharmsala, a community place of minority Hindus, in the port city of Karachi in Sindh province. The court also ordered the Karachi commissioner to take over the possession of the premises
Pakistan Supreme Court has issued an order staying all demolition activities at an almost 90-year-old dharmsala, a community place of minority Hindus, in the port city of Karachi in Sindh province. The court also ordered the Karachi commissioner to take over the possession of the premises.
The order was issued by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad, reported Dawn.
The dharmsala that measures around 716 square yards is located at the Napier Quarters, in Saddar Town, Karachi. The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which looks after community places belonging to minorities, had leased out the Karachi Dharmasala to a private developer.
The developer had been demolishing several parts of the property for the development of a commercial plaza when Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the patron of the Pakistani Hindu Council, approached the Supreme Court. Earlier, Sindh High Court had refused to grant a stay order on demolition activities.
“The photographs provided by Vankwani apparently showed that the building of the Dharam Shala (sic) was constructed in 1932, which can also be read from the marble slab affixed on the building and therefore must be a protected heritage building,” the apex court said in its three-page order.
The order came as a big relief to Hindus, a religious minority in the country, and who often face persecution. The court, in its order, also directed the heritage secretary of Sindh province to present a comprehensive report on the building.
This is not the first time when the country’s supreme court came to the rescue of Hindus. Earlier, in December last year, when a mob, instigated by a local cleric, vandalized and burned down a Hindu shrine in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Supreme Court had taken the provincial and district administration to task for negligence in protecting the religious places of minorities communities.
Significantly, it was the same time when Vankwai of the Pakistan Hindu Council drew the attention of the apex court to the Karachi dharmsala incident. He argued that the Hindu community place was being demolished to make way for the construction of a commercial plaza.