KARACHI Dec 15,2021- Advocate General Sindh presented the record of rights register in the Sindh High Court in a case of Mohatta Palace (Qasr Fatima).
In mid-October 2021, the Sindh High Court has ordered to establish girls medical college at Mohatta Palace, which was again challenged.
The order came on a long-standing dispute over the heritage property of late Fatima Jinnah in Clifton.
On Wednesday, Advocate General Sindh also presented a copy of the layout plan of Mohatta Palace in the court. The court summoned the original layout plan of Mohatta Palace.
Petitioner’s lawyer pointed out that valuables are kept in the houses of Hamid Haroon and others.
Advocate General Sindh raised the question, what do these things have to do with property ownership?
Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed said this property has to be distributed. If there is nothing left in their assets, what should they do to divide the property? the court said’
Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed remarked that the petitioners say they do not want money.
Advocate General Sindh reminded that the Mohatta Palace is the property of Sindh Government and the court has also ruled in various orders.
Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed said that the final price has not been determined yet.
Sindh High Court adjourned further hearing till December 23,
Background of Mohatta Palace
The palace was built in 1927 in the posh seaside locale of Clifton as the summer home of Shivratan Mohatta, a Hindu Marwari businessman from what is now the modern-day Indian state of Rajasthan.
After Mohatta’s departure to India, the Government of Pakistan acquired the building to house the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1947.
Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, moved into it in 1964.
In the ’60s Mohatta Palace was dubbed Qasre-e-Fatima, becoming the hub of her presidential campaign against President Ayub Khan. After her untimely death, her sister Shireen Jinnah moved in to occupy the ground floor for many years. With her death in 1980, the palace was sealed.
In 1995 it was purchased by the Government of Sindh for its conversion into a museum devoted to the arts of Pakistan. The Government of Sindh took over ownership of the property and appointed an independent board of trustees headed by the Governor to formulate recommendations on how best to adapt and use the palace.
A trust was established to manage the property and ensure that it would not be sold or utilized for commercial or any purpose other than that stipulated in the trust deed. Funds for the acquisition of collections for the museum and the construction of an extension are continuously raised by the trustees through private and public grants, donations, and other fundraising activities.
On Nov 8, The Sindh High Court (SHC) restrained the official assignee from taking control of the possession of Qasr-e-Fatima, popularly known as Mohatta Palace. The Sindh government decided to challenge the SHC’s single bench order. Sindh govt took plea that a heritage building could not be used for setting up a college and the single bench’s order was illegal.