KARACHI: Supreme Court on Friday directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to restore the original status of Markaz-i-Islami, Aisha Manzil Karachi, which has been turned into a cinema.
Former Chief Justice of apex court Anwar Zaheer Jamali had taken suo motu notice of turning the Markaz-i-Islami into cinema on the plea of JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman. Taufuiq Asif and Saifuddin Advocate represented JI in the case.
Former mayor Abdul Sattar Afghani had establish Markaz-i-Islami to have hostels, a library, a picture gallery, a research hall for 100 people and an auditorium for around 350 people.
During Mustafa Kamal’s tenure, it was renamed as Markaz-i-Ilm-o-Saqafat. But later it was given on contract to M/s Funrama (Furqan Haider) on a rent of Rs200,000 per month.
Later on, the then KMC administrator signed a new agreement with M/s Funrama allowing it to screen pictures, hold theatre shows, and other cultural programmes, effectively turning it into cinema.
After some time, the contractor handed over the premises to M/s Cinepax Cinemas on Rs500,000 per month and cinema halls were set up there. The apex court while directing KMC to restore Markaz-e-Islami asked it to file complaint in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against turning the Markaz into cinema illegally and submit a report in the SC within 15 days.
The court also suspended Sindh High Court decision in favour of the Cinema owners. After turning it into cinema, Quranic scripture written on the wall were hidden through board and the mosque of the Markaz was turned into marriage hall.