In 2005, the Pakistani National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) leased a protected heritage site to the NAPA, the Hindu Gymkhana, which remains unavailably, according to The Express Tribune.
Shri Ratneshwar Maha Dev, representing the local Hindu community, has been actively seeking the expulsion of NAPA from the historic building, which they have also requested through the court system.
In a petition to the Sindh High Court, we claimed that Hindu Gymkhana lands extended over Artillery Maidan, Muslim Gymkhana, and an Aligarh Muslim University plot too, but the court rejected our request and told us to file a proper suit," said Raj Ashok, senior advocate.
Since 2014, he has been fighting for reclaiming property on behalf of the community he represents.
When hearing the case of Shri Ratneshwar Maha Dev, a Hindu welfare committee, in November 2021, the Apex Court asked the district administration and the Sindh government to relocate the performing arts academy at an appropriate time, according to The Express Tribune.
Aside from that, the academy was also ordered to demolish the auditorium that it constructed on the premises of the heritage site, but so far all orders have proven ineffective, as the academy maintains its illegal occupancy of the protected building.
"Although NAPA is our tenant, we have been complying with court orders and have found an alternate venue for the academy's relocation. It is in the Jinnah Cultural Complex in North Karachi, but NAPA is sticking to its guns about being provided with a prime location in the city's downtown area, which is too audacious," said Pakistan's Director-General Culture Abdul Aleem Lashari.