SC summons Chairman ETPB in minorities’ rights case

ISLAMABAD:The Supreme Court on Monday summoned the Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) in suo moto notice case regarding rights of minorities in the country and the tragic incident at the shrine of a Hindu saint in KP’s Karak district.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, the bench asked the ETPB to submit timeframe to rebuild Hindu shrine in Karak which was damaged in a tragic incident of vandalism on December 30 last year.

The Chief Justice observed that ETPB report did not identify most minority properties.

He directed the Chairman ETPB to identify all minority properties across the country and submit a report.

He observed that housing societies were being built on trust land, how was that possible.

Justice Ijaz said that how the trust’s property could be utilized for personal use.

The Chief Justice said that several properties of trust were grabbed not only in Lahore but also in Karachi.

He said that all properties of ETPB have been given on lease, whereas, some of the properties were permanently given on lease.

The AAG told the court that 14 properties of ETPB were currently occupied.

The chief justice maintained that ETPB properties could not be given to anyone. He questioned how ETPB could establish housing societies on its land.

The Additional Attorney General said that geo-tagging of all properties was a positive aspect.

The Chief Justice said that five multi-storey plazas had been demolished in Karachi on the directives of the Supreme Court which also include properties of ETPB.

The chairman of minorities’ commission Shoaib Suddle argued that ETPB did not cooperate with the one-member commission. To this, the chief justice remarked that ETPB chairman would be summoned here if it was a matter of non-cooperation.

Later, the top court summoned the chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) in the next hearing besides seeking timeframe for rebuilding the Samadhi.

Member of the National Assembly (MNA) and Patron in Chief Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar apprised the court alleging that the reconstruction work of Samadhi was not started so far.

The chief justice remarked that the compensation money was not received from the responsible persons in Karak incident.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that the reconstruction work of the Hindu shrine should be started immediately.

KP’s Additional Advocate General (AAG) said that the provincial government had allocated Rs34.8 million to rebuild the Samadhi.

The Chief Justice said that 119 persons had been arrested over their involved in the Karak incident.

Justice Ahsan said that nobody would think about doing such a thing ever if compensation money is retrieved from the responsible persons.

Dr Ramesh Kumar, told the court claiming that Commissioner Multan was not taking responsibility of security of Multan temple. He said that the commissioner expressed security risks if the Holi festival was going to be organised there.

The apex court directed the Punjab government for making security arrangements for a temple ahead of Holi festival on March 28.

The court directed the Punjab’s chief secretary and inspector general (IG) to look after the matters related to the organisation of Holi festival.

Later, hearing of the case was adjourned till February 15.