LAHORE: The Lahore High Court took up a petition filed in 1995 by representatives of a foreign charitable organisation, Freemasonry, to regain control over a plot of land allegedly owned by the organisation and forcibly taken over by the government.
Petitioners, Kabir A Sheikh, Mazhar Mufti, Dr Dara J Hormasji, Ajmal Wahid, A G K Lodhi, and Ahmad Ali Bhatti, claim that the property on 90 Mall Road was bought by the Lodge for Rs32,519 n 1916. The petition adds that during the Ziaul Haq’s regime the property was rented to the government by the Lodge and has never been returned to the organisation since.
Later, property of the organisation was seized and a ban was imposed on its activities on the allegations of subversive activities. The petitioners also pointed out that the then interior minister Khan Abdul Qayum Khan had in 1972 stated that government had proof against the alleged subversive activities of Freemasons.
The court postponed the hearing for two weeks as Punjab government’s counsel sought more time to submit a reply from the government. The federal government had been directed to provide an alternate property to the petitioners; however, so far no response had been received.