SHC wants Mohatta Palace turned into medical college

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The Sindh High Court ordered on Wednesday for Qasar-e-Fatima which is commonly known as Mohatta Palace to be turned into a medical college.

The court said that the college should include a hostel.A plaque should be installed with the names of legal heirs on it, the court said. A trust should be established to look after the affairs of the medical college and the hospital, the court said.

All the parties have agreed to this. Some names have been suggested to run the trust, including Dr Abdul Bari of Indus Hospital, SIUT’s Dr Adib Rizvi, Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice (retd) Fahim Siddiqui.

The court has ordered the authorities to contact these people and acquire their consent to include them on the trust.The development came during the hearing of the case of the distribution of Quaid-e-Azam and Fatima Jinnah’s residence.

The court also asked for a record of all the activities and income generated from Qasar-e-Fatima in the last 30 years.After independence the site housed the offices for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later as Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah residence and it came to by known as Qasr-e-Fatima.

After Fatima Jinnah passed away the building went to her sister Shireen Jinnah, who lived there. When she died, the property went to their trusts and they fought over it. This was in 1971. The building was sealed.

In 1993 or 1994, the Sindh government went to court, saying that it wanted to take care of the building which was falling apart. The Sindh High Court, led by Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, decided that it would be evaluated and sold the Sindh government. The property was valued at Rs68 million at the time. However, there was the question of where that money would come from.

The matter was brought up with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who spoke with Sindh Governor Mahmood Haroon. The secretary of culture at the time was Khwaja Shahid Hussain.

The trustees did not object and the property was turned into a museum under the Mohatta Palace Gallery Trust.

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