Sindh govt to challenge high court’s ruling to turn Mohatta Palace into college

Nov 3, 2021: Additional advocate general says it is impossible to construct a college on a heritage site hence decision to turn the Mohatta palace into college is illegal.

The Sindh government has decided to challenge the High Court’s decision to convert Qasr-e-Fatima, commonly known as Mohatta Palace in Karachi, into a medical college, it was informed on Wednesday.

The Additional Advocate General said that it was impossible to build a college on the site of heritage. The Sindh government has decided to challenge the decision of the single bench as it is illegal.

“We will take our arguments to a two-member bench, ”he said. The public prosecutor added that the order to rename Mohatta Palace was also illegal.

Meanwhile, Khawaja Harris, counsel for the petitioner, contended that the heritage building was being used by the provincial government for commercial purposes.

“These people are just filling their pockets. The establishment of a medical college will shut down their business, ”he told the court.

The court, after hearing the arguments of the parties, adjourned the hearing of the case till November 15. In October, the Sindh High Court ruled that Mohatta Palace would be used to set up a medical and dental college for girls. The ruling comes amid a long-running dispute over Ms. Fatima Jinnah’s inherited property in Clifton.

In 1971, a suit was filed by Hussain Waliji, a relative of Miss Jinnah about the administration of her moveable and immovable properties including Qasr-e-Fatima.

After the death of Waliji, his son Amir Ali became the plaintiff, but he had also passed away during the pendency of the suit and then his legal heirs had become the part of proceedings.

The lawsuit was started after Fatima Jinnah’s death on July 10, 1967, after her only surviving sister, Shereen Jinnah, was given a certificate of succession to such properties. Shereen Jinnah Charitable Trust was made one of the defendants in the case. At a hearing of the case, the lawyers of the parties – relatives of Fatima Jinnah (plaintiffs) and Shirin Jinnah Charitable Trust (defendants) had informed the bench that they had considered the matter and resolved the long-running dispute amicably.

A provincial law officer also said that both sides were now moving towards implementing Miss Jinnah’s wishes, translated through a trust deed, where it was hoped that the Qasr Fatima compound would be used to establish a modern medical facility college specifically for girls and an affiliated hospital for free treatment of the poor / patients.

The bench then asked the provincial law officer to review the various orders of the court and record a statement as to what would help the owner of the property in question, Fatima Jinnah, to use it according to her wishes.

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