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Sindh govt willing to shift National Academy of Performing Arts

February 11, 2020

KARACHI: After a strong notice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Sindh government has shown its willingness to shift the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) to another place from the Hindu Gymkhana. The Supreme Court in December 2018 had directed the Sindh government to shift NAPA to another place from the Hindu Gymkhana, which is a declared heritage site, but compliance could not made.

Following the Supreme Court orders, Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah constituted a three-member committee comprising commissioner Karachi as Chairman, director general culture and representative of NAPA to identify an alternate place for NAPA. The chief secretary had also directed the committee to prepare and submit a report before the Supreme Court.

The Karachi Registry of Supreme Court had ordered the Sindh government in December 2018 to shift the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) to any other place from the Hindu Gymkhana heritage site.

The top court was seized with the petition regarding the leasing out of the property to NAPA and then construction of the building, including an auditorium in a building already declared as cultural heritage.

The Supreme Court also expressed its displeasure upon provincial government for the allotment of an office to the academy.

Apart from the objections of Sindh Culture department, the Shree Ratheshawar Maha Dev Welfare (a Hindu welfare organization) had also approached the court in 2014 through Advocate Neel Keshav submitting that the heritage site belonged to the Hindu community of Karachi before Independence.

The Gymkhana building was established for the promotion of social and religious activities of Hindus, but the government took it over as an Evacuee Trust property after Independence. Therefore, the petitioner asked the court to issue a directive to Napa to vacate the building and hand it over to the Hindu community.