KARACHI – The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that the posh cinema in Karachi’s Federal B. Area be converted back to the Islamic centre (Al-Markaz-i-Islami) it originally was.
A cinema was established in the hall by Cinepax company’s contractor after the building was handed over to him by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).
However, the move angered social media buffs and religious elements demanding the restoration of the original Islamic centre.
The activity to convert the hall into a cinema was highlighted by Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Engr. Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman, who wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan.
The CJP took notice of the issue, converting the letter into a petition.
After subsequent hearing, the court in its Friday’s ruling ordered restoration of the actual status of the building and directed action against the private contractor and KMC officials involved in converting the building into a cinema.
The court also revoked Sindh High Court’s stay order to reopen the cinema. Moreover, the court has directed authorities to present a report to NAB and file a progress report on it within 15 days.
The KMC had earlier maintained its stance that the Islamic centre building had been given to the owner for Islamic cultural activities. The KMC had also conceded before the Supreme Court that no mosque was constructed as planned at the centre.
It is relevant to mention that the cinema, located near Ayesha Manzil, was sealed in 2015 by the KMC over non-payment of dues and for illegally subletting the premises.
A statement issued by the KMC said that the KMC had handed over the premises to a company so that cultural activities could take place at the hall, but they rented out the hall to another party that converted it into a cinema house.