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April 12, 2017

Razing of school likely to be taken up in PA session today


April 12, 2017

A day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement moved a request, the  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday submitted an adjournment motion to the Sindh Assembly secretariat against the demolition of the heritage site housing the Jufelhurst School in Soldier Bazaar.

The motion, said PTI lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman, was submitted under Rule 85 of the assembly’s rules of procedure.

It states that the razing of the Jufelhurst School’s “historic school building by land mafia in connivance with police” is of urgent importance and needed to be discussed in the legislative forum. 

“The school built in 1928 had been providing education to students of the area till Saturday night when it was reduced to rubble. The matter is of public importance and should be discussed on the floor of the house.”

The PTI legislator asserted the demolition of a declared heritage site was done as per a planned conspiracy and demanded that those involved be arrested and given strict punishments according to the law.

“Those responsible for this would not go unpunished,” he vowed.

On Monday, the MQM had submitted a resolution with the assembly secretariat against the demolition of the school building that was protected under the heritage act. 

The resolution would be taken up in the fresh session of the Sindh Assembly due to commence on April 12 (today).

The opposition party in its resolution calls for the arrests of culprits who demolished the building and their connivers among the law-enforcement agencies.

The resolution was submitted by MQM’s parliamentary leader in the assembly, Syed Sardar Ahmed, and MPA Faisal Sabzwari.

The resolution stated read that, “Vandals are always found to be hand-in-glove with the land mafia, and on top of it when members of the law-enforcing agencies connive in their wanton acts, it seems that the administration of this metropolis has fallen into the hands of ‘philistines’.”

The Jufel Hurst School in Soldier Bazar, a protected heritage under Section 6 of the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994, was built by a lady by the name of Sybil D’Abreo on her own property in 1931. It was demolished on the night between Saturday and Sunday- April 8 and 9 - despite the school headmaster’s protest as well as the neighbours. When the police reached the spot after getting the complaint, it failed to stop the demolishers.

“This House resolves that not only the culprits including the members of the law enforcing agency who witnessed the demolition with relish be punished, but also the school building be reconstructed as a model school immediately at the cost of the plunderers,” the resolution further maintains.


Compensation for Sehwan victims

Almost two months after the deadly attack, the provincial finance ministry released Rs117 million for compensatory payments to the heirs of those killed in the blast at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine in Sehwan.

The money was released after approval from Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and, as per details, the families of the 78 deceased victims would receive Rs1.5 million each. 

On February 16, a suicide attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar had claimed more than a 100 lives. Shah had announced financial assistance of Rs1.5m for the families of those killed while those who had lost limbs were to receive Rs1 million. Anyone who sustained serious injuries was to get Rs500,000, followed by a compensation of Rs100,000 for those with minor injuries.

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