KARACHI-Sindh Minister for Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Shah informed the provincial assembly that the Rangers had shifted its headquarters to Jinnah Courts - the protected building under the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act of 1994 - on temporary basis in April 1999 but did not evacuate it yet.

Furnishing reply during the Question Hour, Sardar Shah said that Jinnah Courts, the Supreme Court of Pakistan Karachi Registry and some other buildings were properties of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department of the provincial government. When asked, the minister said that the provincial government didn’t make any move to get back possession of Jinnah Courts.

Apprising the house regarding history of Jinnah Courts, the minister said that the building was constructed between June 1932 and June 1933 through donations from people as well as funds of local bodies of the province to provide residential facilities to students who came from across the province to pursue their studies in Karachi. “The hostel remained a place of high importance during the Pakistan Movement. Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah also visited the hostel. This building originally named as the Leslie Wilson Muslim Hostel but soon after independence, the building was named after Mr Jinnah,” he informed.

This building was transferred to Culture department in 1986 to establish cultural complex and facilitate promotion of tourism.

RESORT AT THE KEENJHAR LAKE

Separately, replying another question, Sardar Shah said that there was a resort at the Keenjhar Lake containing 24 huts and a restaurant where a number of visitors availed themselves of the facilities. He said that 4,000 to 5,000 people had availed the facility of huts.

To a supplementary question, the minister admitted that a ministerial hut and three other huts were meant for government officers. He added that the 12 more huts were being constructed at the resort and they would be ready for used in the next few months.

 

NEEDY ARTIST GET FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The minister said that the culture department is providing financial support to around 850 needy writers, poets and other artists in the shape of endowment fund as well as stipend. “Earlier each needy artist of above 50 years was provided Rs42,000 annually but now the amount has been increased to Rs 60,000,” he added.

Giving details of the funds disbursed amongst the needy artist during last five years, Minster Sardar Shah informed that Rs145.67 million has provided to needy artists in the head of stipend. Similarly, he added that Rs102.706 million was disbursed amongst hundreds of needy writers, poets and other artists in the head of endowment funds. To a query, the minister said that an artist could be provided 50,000 to Rs1 million under Sindh Endowment Fund. He informed that a total Rs70 million was allocated in the budget of current fiscal year which would be disbursed ‘transparently’.