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SC directs govt to submit report

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Shifting of NAPA from Karachi Hindu Gymkhana: SC directs govt to submit report

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the secretary Heritage Department and the provincial law officer to submit a report with regard to shifting of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) from the Hindu Gymkhana.

Hearing a petition about the construction of an auditorium and allotment of office to the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) at the Hindu Gymkhana, which is also a heritage site, the Supreme Court’s three-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, inquired from the secretary Heritage Department that why NAPA had not been shifted from the Hindu Gymkhana despite the court orders.

The court observed that the secretary Culture and Heritage was directed to take a decision about shifting of NAPA but the court orders were not complied with after almost three years. The SC bench observed that a heritage site could not be handed over to any institution in this manner.

The secretary culture submitted that the former secretary had sent the matter to the commissioner Karachi with regard to shifting of NAPA to another place and response was awaited. The court inquired the law officer that why an alternate space has not been provided to NAPA after three years.

The counsel of Gymkhana submitted that NAPA had converted the temple in Gymkhana into a studio. The court directed the counsel to provide evidence about the conversion, so that the original status of temple in Gymkhana could be restored.

The court directed the provincial law officer and the Heritage Department to submit a report with regard to shifting of NAPA from the heritage site and provision of alternate land to it within two days.

The National Academy of Performing Arts had earlier submitted before the court that the Hindu Gymkhana was given to it on a 30 years’ lease. It said it had not changed the character of the main building, but constructed an auditorium on the vacant land without altering the heritage site.

The Hindu Welfare Organisation had also challenged the handing over of the heritage site to NAPA and requested the court to return it to the Hindu community who owned the heritage site

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