SHC seeks Sita Ram Building’s real position

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed Culture and Heritage Department to restore the original position of Sita Ram Building, protected as heritage building and located at Burns Road.

A division bench headed by Justice Irfan Saddat Khan gave this direction while hearing a petition filed by Malik Raees Ahmed, who approached the court against owner of heritage building for carrying out repair work and its alteration without seeking permission of authorities concerned.

The petitioner, who has rented a floor in the building, said that owner of Sita Ram Building in collusion with the officials of culture department were demolishing structure on first floor of the building and carrying out major repair work of heritage building.

With Bara Dari (a pavilion with 12 doors designed to allow free flow of air) on its rooftop, the building had been notified as national heritage under Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act, 1994, he added.

Nazir of the court, appointed for inspection of the heritage building, had confirmed tempering of the heritage building as saying that extensive repair work was carried out in the recent past and more work was also underway when a team of the court inspected the premises of building.

He stated the building’s owner did not deny the repair and renovation work of building, who told team ‘since the building in question, being old structure was in dilapidated condition, needed repairing.

Nazir’s report said that original bricks were removed and found in debris lying on the floor, adding that two pillars were constructed on the first floor. It said that the original door was removed and 10-feet-high boundary wall was raised.

On the first floor, one room was found demolished and converted into gallery and second floor also look damaged, it added.

Counsel for owner of building, however, submitted in court that he had entered into an agreement with culture department for restoration of the building to its original position. Miran Muhammad Shah, additional advocate general, also confirmed that agreement and said the building would be restored soon as per the pact.

The bench gave provincial government and owner of the building six-month time to comply with the terms of agreement and restore the building to its original position.

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