Estate of Quaid-e-Azam snubs Haleem Adil Sheikh’s claims on Flagstaff House
The Estate of Quaid-e-Azam, which manages the Quaid-e-Azam House Museum, Institute of Nation Building, on Wednesday clarified that the heritage site is not being used for any commercial purposes as claimed by Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh.
A statement issued by the senior vice chairman of the estate, Liaquat Merchant, shared the history of the Flag Staff House and its transfer to the federal government on the orders of the Sindh High Court in 1984.
Merchant said that after the 18th Amendment, the ownership of the Quaid-e-Azam House was given to the Sindh government. The administrators of the estate had reached out to the Sindh chief minister for involvement of the private sector and, in this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed.
The MoU was signed by the provincial government with Liaquat Merchant, who is the grand-nephew of Quaid-e-Azam, and Ikram Sehgal, chairman of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations.
Merchant said that after the signing, the Sindh government on April 6 notified the formation of a Board of Management for Quaid-e-Azam House Museum.
The board consists of Merchant, as the senior vice-chairman, Ikram Sehgal, as vice-chairman, Commodore Sadeed Malik (Retd), Nadira Panjwani, Shazad Dada, president Arts Council Karachi, Akeel Bilgrami and Sultan Ali Allana.
“While the ownership and control of Quaid-e-Azam House Museum continued to vest in the government of Sindh, the management of the Quaid-e-Azam House with particular reference to activities to be conducted there, which would constitute “nation-building” would be the responsibility of the board of management,” the statement said.
The grand-nephew of Jinnah also shared that the three functionaries specified in the Sindh government also formed a managing committee among themselves.
“[The] Managing Committee proposed to use the annexe for holding small events such as talks by prominent leaders of civil society, display of films to groups of students on the Quaid-e-Azam and the Pakistan Movement, as well as speeches by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the use of the premises for seminars and audio-visual programmes for small groups of up to 50,” Merchant clarified.
The statement also maintained that the committee had agreed that the museum would not be changed in “any manner” or used for “any commercial purposes”.
“However, subject to the heritage laws, rules and approval of the Heritage Commission, the rear portion of the property may be used for audio-visual and other similar activities, involving students such as talks, seminars, debating, elocution, dramas by students and other educational and cultural purposes limited to the student community,” the statement said.
Merchant also clarified that the committee had agreed to use the house for that purpose to educate the younger generation of the country on the “reasons for the creation of Pakistan and what Pakistan was intended to achieve.” It added by showing the principles, ideals and vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that events would not only help in nation-building but will also promote democracy, unity, faith and discipline.
“The area behind Quaid-e-Azam House Museum, Institute of Nation Building, will not be used for any commercial purposes and use of this area will not adversely affect the main heritage site and its surrounding areas,” Merchant said, adding that the board and the committee had been using the property as per the 1984 decisions of the high court and advisory committee for use of the property as a museum, library and audio-visual centre.
Sheikh claims Quaid-e-Azam House being used for commercial activities
The statement was issued by Merchant after PTI leader Haleem Adil claimed that the PPP-led government in Sindh was carrying out “illegal and commercial construction activity” inside the Quaid-e-Azam House Museum.
The opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly had held visited the Flagstaff House and held a press conference at the museum to highlight the claims.
During the visit, he had shown newsmen different areas of the building that he claimed was being used for “commercial purposes”.
He also showed copies of documents, which were signed as a memorandum of understanding by the Sindh government in agreement with the Jinnah Society and the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations in February 2021, which allowed the two non-governmental bodies to use the heritage facility for their operation calling it a “first step towards commercialisation of the Quaid’s historic residence”.
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