Demolition of Jofelhurst school: ACE seeks permission to arrest six officers

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KARACHI: Anti-Corruption Establishment Sindh has sought Chief Secretary Sindh’s permission to arrest six officers of the provincial government into case of illegal demolition of 86 year old Jofelhurst School, Karachi. The officers include Member Land Utilization, Board of Revenue Ghulam Mustafa Phul and Deputy Commissioner, East, Karachi Samiuddin Siddiqui.

Director ACE, Usman Ghani Siddiqui has sent a letter to the Chief Secretary Sindh requesting him to grant permission for arrest of these officers. It is mentioned in the letter that ‘sufficient evidence’ has come on record about involvement of these officers in the case.

Other officers include Bux Ali Maher, Additional Secretary, Culture department, Fozia Mursaleen, Section officer of the department, Jamil Memon, Surveyor, Jamshed Town and Syed Muhammad Ali, Assistant Commissioner.

In April, 2017 the demolition of a historical school drew public outrage besides causing damage to the school building and leaving students stranded. The Jufelhurst School was established in 1931.

Initially Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had conducted inquiry into the case, later transferred the inquiry to the ACE because of involvement of civil servants.

“Official documents from the Archives Department also show that Plot No: 356 and 335/1 has always been one property compounded by a wall dedicated for educational purpose by the owner of the property i.e Sabil D. Abero, founder Principal of the school. Both the plots mentioned above contained 3 buildings for school and one Bunglow where Principal used to reside. All the four buildings including Bunglow was notified as protected heritage.”

The investigation officer stated that the clarification report No: OSD/CHC/05-27-2012 dated 22-06-2017 sent to the ACE was mala fide and prepared with connivance of officers of Culture and Tourism Department including Secretary, Ghulam Akbar Leghari, Additional Secretary, Bux Ali Maher, Section officer Fozia Mursaleen and Assistant, Aijaz Ali.

According to the investigation officer in her clarification report dated 22 June, 2017 the section officer mentioned that the demolished Bunglow was neither recommended nor declared as Protected Heritage. The copy of the said letter was also submitted before the court of special judge along with some bail applications of the accused and they got bail. Later the section officer, Fozia Mursaleen informed the ACE on July 27, 2017 that said letter was not issued by her nor was it entered in outward register.

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