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High court stops transfer of Mohata Palace custody


The Sindh High Court (SHC) on the appeal of Sindh government against the order of a single bench on the establishment of a medical college at Qasr-e-Fatima aka Mohata Palace, stopped the official assignee from taking over its custody. A bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmad Abbasi heard the appeal.
Justice Aqeel Abbasi remarked that the order of the single bench included the consent of the lawyer of the Sindh government. The Additional Advocate General stated that the public prosecutor had voluntarily agreed. The consenting Assistant Advocate General was appointed in September.
The court inquired why a museum was being run at Mohata Palace. “Was there any such order passed by the court?,” the court remarked.
The counsel of Mohata Gallery Trust stated that the museum was running under the trust. The court restrained the official assignee from taking the custody of Mohata Palace. The court issued notices to the parties for November 18.
The court also ordered to maintain the status quo till the next hearing and issued notices on the application of Mohata Palace Gallery Trust to become a party. The single bench had ordered to take Qasr-e-Fatima into custody. The bench had also ordered renaming of Mohata Palace and establishment of a medical college.
Meanwhile the Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued notices to Sindh chief secretary (CS) and others on a petition against issuance of tenders worth Rs230 million in the Department of Culture and Tourism. A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh, heard the petition.
Munawar Alam Khan, counsel for petitioner Muhammad Ashraf, argued that 13 tenders worth Rs230 million were issued and all of them were awarded to the same company.
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“These companies are owned by blacklisted contractor Waliullah Bhutto. He is running these companies anonymously. All tenders in the culture department are issued to this contractor,” the counsel contended and demanded that a JIT or judicial commission should be formed to investigate the matter.
“The contractor who voluntarily returned the money to the National Accountability Bureau is working under a different name,” the counsel maintained.
Meanwhile, the court stopped the issuance of tender funds besides restraining the companies that won tenders from carrying out work till the next hearing and sought a reply by November 18.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2021.

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