Contempt petition moved for removal of madrassa from graveyard land

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has sought report on the construction of a seminary on a piece of land reserved for graveyard. The court after hearing arguments adjourned hearing until March 4. The petitioner Amjad Ayub has moved a contempt of court since the Islamabad High Court last June had declared the religious seminary constructed illegally and had ordered its demolition.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui while hearing the contempt petition had directed the CDA counsel to submit report which he presented before the court on Tuesday. The petitioner’s counsel informed the court that the construction was declared illegal but the court’s orders have not yet been implemented.
The court after hearing the arguments described the CDA report incomplete and directed the authority to submit a complete comprehensive report in this regard. The court will now hear the case on March 4.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC issued the directions on a petition filed by a resident of G-11/3. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) was ordered to file a compliance report after retrieving the land. It may be mentioned here that Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on June 1, 2015 had declared the construction of seminary illegal noting “No religious seminary can be constructed in an illegal manner and without adopting a due procedure.”
Justice Siddiqui while addressing the counsel for the cleric who had encroached on the land had remarked: “Do you have the permission from the CDA or any competent authority to construct the madrassah?” In reply, the counsel said there were a number of madrassahs in the capital running in a similar manner. However, Justice Siddiqui reminded him that following an illegal example did not make it legal. The seminary is against the teachings of Islam to encroach upon another’s land, he had said.
The petition filed Ayub disclosed that in 2000 cleric Habibullah started imparting religious education to students in a makeshift arrangement in the graveyard. In 2002, he built two rooms to set up the so-called seminary. In 2003 and 2006, the CDA launched operations against the construction but the cleric not only managed to escape the operation but also continued its expanding.
Because of reluctance by the civic agency, the structure was expanded to six rooms with a large basement and a separate mosque.
“Under the law, neither the CDA can allot the land reserved for the graveyard to anyone nor anyone can encroach on it,” thus said Shamshadullah Cheema, the counsel for the petitioner. “Whatever has been constructed on this land is, therefore, illegal and unlawful,” he added. The petitioner requested the court to order the removal of the structure as it was expanding over the graves of his loved ones.

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