Islamabad (News Desk): The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Wednesday to convert Qasr-e-Fatima, the residence of Fatima Jinnah, into a medical college.
The directives came on a petition filed by Fatima Jinnah’s cousin, Hussain G. Walji that had been pending since 1971.
In its order, the SHC said that a trust should be set up to run the affairs of the medical college, which should also include separate hostels for male and female students.
As all parties agreed to the arrangement, the court also suggested some names to run the trust, including Dr. Abdul Bari of Indus Hospital, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation’s (SIUT) Dr. Adib Rizvi, Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Osmany, and Justice (retd) Fahim Siddiqui, and directed authorities seek their consent in this regard.
During the previous hearing, the court had barred authorities from using the term ‘Mohatta Palace’ for Fatima Jinnah’s property. The court had suggested that the palace should now be called ‘Qasr-e-Fatima’.
The SHC had also directed authorities to submit a record of all the activities and income generated from the building during the last 30 years.
The Mohatta Palace was built in the 1920s and is now a declared heritage site. Designed by Agha Ahmed Hussain, the first known Muslim architect of the sub-continent, the palace was built for Shivratan Mohatta, a successful Marwari entrepreneur, according to well-known Karachi historian, Usman Damohi.
The beautiful palace housed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after independence and later served as the residence of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.
After the death of Fatima Jinnah, the building went to her sister Shireen Jinnah, however, it was disputed by her other cousins, and was consequently sealed in 1971. However, in 1994, the property was turned into a museum under the Mohatta Palace Gallery Trust.