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Saturday June 22, 2024

9,000 acres donated to shrines or madrasas, SHC asks Auqaf dept

By Jamal Khurshid
May 27, 2024
The Sindh High Court building facade can be seen in this file image. — SHC Website/File
The Sindh High Court building facade can be seen in this file image. — SHC Website/File

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the secretary of the Auqaf department to submit the complete record of the 9,000 acres of donated agricultural land clarifying if the land has been donated to shrines or madrasas.

The direction came on a petition about the allocation of a private educational institution’s land by the Auqaf department. The court had sought from the department the complete record of properties, including agricultural land and shrines, and details of the Zakat received from the federal government and its distribution.

Filing comments on the petition, the Auqaf secretary said the federal government had released provincial Zakat funds in the sum of Rs16.476509 billion over the past decade.

He said Rs14,067,632,645 and Rs11,779,462,446 received as Zakat funds had been disbursed and used for Guzara allowance, educational stipend, stipend for university students, madrasas, health care, social welfare or rehabilitation, marriage assistance for single women, Eid package and national level health institutions.

He also said that all the Waqf properties in the province vest in the chief administrator of Auqaf and the office of the chief administrator Auqaf Hyderabad. He sought time to file the record pertaining to the properties and agriculture land.

Granting time, an SHC division bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar directed the Auqaf secretary to submit the complete record of the 9,000 acres of agricultural land clarifying if the land was donated to shrines or madrasas.

The court directed the Auqaf secretary to establish a website linked with the government website to upload all the details of the properties as well as the complete record of the past decade for auction of lease of agricultural and commercial properties, including complete details of the owners and the purpose for which such properties were donated.

The bench also directed the Auqaf department to deliberate over the issue and establish academies of Shah Inayat Shaheed, Qadir Bux Bedil and Shah Waliullah (academies and research centres), as already ordered by the court.