The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the government’s petition to stop the demolition of ‘unauthorised’ Madina Masjid located at Karachi’s Tariq Road area and summoned a report from the Sindh government in three weeks, Aaj News reported.
The mosque is one of three structures – a graveyard and a shrine – constructed on encroached lands that the apex court ordered demolition of in its December 28 decision. The SC had ordered the Karachi commissioner and other officials to remove such structures on the Kidney Hill Park premises and a mosque constructed on another park near Tariq Road within a week and retrieve the land originally meant for public parks.
A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed gave the orders while hearing a case pertaining to the demolition of Madina Masjid located at the land allocated for the park in Karachi.
Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan appeared before the apex court and urged it to review its December 28 decision. “Because of the court’s [December 28] decision, religious tensions are rising,” he said.
To this, CJ Gulzar said the SC could not withdraw its order and maintained that the Sindh government could give alternate land for the mosque if it wanted.
AGP Javed said that many questions were being raised after the SC’s order related to the demolition of the mosque. “Mr AGP, we have seen this park from our naked eyes,” the CJ remarked.
Justice Qazi Amin said that religion “was being used” for encroachment of lands. “You [AGP Javed] are a representative of the government and just want that the government does not fall even if the sky does,” he said, “There is a difference between a place of worship and a place of residence.”
The AGP replied he was aware of the fact that it was the responsibility of the state and provincial government to allot land for the mosque, reiterating his request to the court to withdraw its decision.
CJ Gulzar said: “[All] we can do is not give the orders for demolition until a new place is found for the mosque.” AGP Javed said the Sindh government was not a party in the case and urged the court to first summon a detailed report on the Madina Masjid from the provincial government.
“It just got messed up, we cannot withdraw our order. By doing this, should we take all our orders back,” the CJ asked.
The attorney general again urged the court to halt the orders for demolition until the Sindh government report was submitted.
CJ Gulzar remarked that the orders for removing the encroachments from the park would not be withdrawn and questioned that “what was the purpose of doing all such proceedings if the court had to take back its orders?”
Justice Amin said: “The construction of mosques on illegal land was a non-religious act. Islam does not allow such acts. If [you] want to build a mosque then construct it from your own pocket.”