Pak SC rules mosques
built on illegal land
can’t be worshipful

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a plea by the attorney general who requested the court withdraw its earlier orders calling for the razing of a mosque constructed “illegally” in Karachi’s Tariq Road area, saying “religious tension” was springing up in the wake of demolition directives.

Madina Mosque at Tariq Road, Karachi which will be demolished at the order of Supreme Court.

The country’s top court heard a case related to the demolition of encroachments in the metropolis wherein the attorney general appeared on behalf of the government and asked the apex bench court to reconsider the order to demolish the Madina Mosque constructed “illegally”.

During today’s hearing in Islamabad, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan urged the top court to review its Dec 28 verdict saying, “Many questions are being raised over directives to raze a place of worship.”

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed remarked that the government could provide alternative land for the mosque, if it wants to, further telling the attorney general that “I have seen a park in the mosque’s place with my own eyes”.

The attorney general maintained that he knew it was the federal and provincial government’s duty to provide land for the mosque. However, he insisted that the SC withdraw its order.

“All we can do is order a delay in the demolition of the mosque till a new site is found for it,” the chief justice responded. Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed observed that religion was being used in land grabbing.

HYDERABAD: Members of Masjid Committee hold a protest against the demolishing order of Madina Masjid in Karachi by Supreme Court.

The CJP said the apex court couldn’t take back its order. “What would be the purpose of proceedings if we withdraw our orders,” Justice Gulzar said. Justice Amin noted that building a mosque on an encroached land was not a religious act, saying “Islam does not allow it.”

The apex court sought a report from the Sindh government within three weeks and adjourned the case till January 13.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court Justice Gulzar Ahmed

The Supreme Court in its hearing at the Karachi Registry on Dec 28 had come down hard on the city administration for allowing the establishment of illegal cemeteries, mosques and shrines on public spaces and ordered authorities to remove all encroachments and retrieve the land meant for public parks.

During the proceedings, the court was informed that a mosque, Madina Masjid, had been built on land measuring around 1,100 square yards shown as a park in PECHS on main Tariq Road.

The bench had expressed resentment at the DMC-East administrator when he requested it to pass an order about the removal of the mosque and said that it was his duty to restore public spaces. It directed the administrator to ensure the removal of the mosque and other encroachments in a week and restore the land as a park.

JUI-(F)’s reaction

Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl’s central secretary general Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri has warned that they will not allow anyone to demolish the Madina Masjid located at Tariq Road, Karachi.

Addressing a gathering at the Madina Masjid on Monday, Haidri said that the mosque was built 41 years ago and it has all the legal documents.

Requesting the Apex Court to review its decision to demolish mosques built on amenity plots in Karachi, the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl’s central secretary general Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri warned the Sindh government to get ready to face backlash if anything happens to the Madina Masjid.

Haidri, who was also former deputy chairman of the Senate, said that the real objective of the independence of Pakistan was to create an Islamic state. “But the current government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf should be ashamed of naming the state of Madina.”

Last week, a two-judge SC bench directed the Karachi commissioner and other officials to remove the Madina Mosque constructed on a park within a week and restore the land for its original purpose.