Notices issued to Secretary Sindh Culture Dept., President Arts Council and others to appear in the court on March 14 along with details of musical nights and the funds spent.
The Culture Dept. was to send a delegation of more than 39 persons for musical nights in UK and other countries. The delegation members’ list contains the names of irrelevant persons.
From Our Correspondent
Sindh High Court Sukkur Bench has restrained Provincial Culture Department from organizing musical nights in UK and other countries and also restricted the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi from organizing the programs outside the province as well as the country.
Approving a constitutional petition for hearing, filed by Suhail Memon, the court has fixed the hearing on March 14 at 9.30am and directed the Secretary Culture and President of Arts Council to appear before the court on the fixed date.
The SHC Bench, comprising Justice Sallahuddin Panhwer and Justice Mubeen Lakho, further directed that ‘Secretary, Culture Department, Government of Sindh, shall submit complete breakup of amount of last five years incurred on musical nights in the province as well as abroad, if any. Besides, shall submit criterion and SOPs with regard to organizing cultural festivals and musical nights.’
The court further directed that the Secretary Culture Department shall submit setails with regard to musical nights conducted for fund-raising for present flood-affected people, besides they shall not conduct recreational program on the cost of public exchequer. Further, he shall submit details of the festivals organized to promote academic, cultural and sports activities amongst the physically challenged. Secretary Finance shall also submit details of fund allocated and released to the culture department in last two years.
The Court in its directives to the President, Arts Council of Pakistan Ahmed Shah, said that ‘President Arts Council is restrained to schedule any cultural events in other provinces from the aid granted by Sindh government.
Journalist Sohail Memon, in his petition stated that Sindh Culture Department is going to organize musical night at London, UK on March 11, 2023 titled as ‘Centenary of Mohen Jo Daro’, besides festivals and musical nights in different countries despite the fact that they have failed to save cultural heritage sites besides have no mechanism for providing information by establishing such centers.
He had further stated that Sindh government is providing Rs.300 million every year to the culture department for conducting such informative festivals regarding the heritage sites as well as book fairs but the grant has been misusedin the name of musical nights.
The court directed that the notice shall also be issued to Additional Advocate General of Sindh to appear in the court on March 14.
Meanwhile, Sohail Memon has released a copy of the list of persons who were to proceed abroad in connection with musical night. The list consists of 39 names besides four VIPs (whose names were not disclosed by the department of culture). The names are as follows:
Naseem Ghani Sahito, Secretary Culture, Manzoor Ahmed Kanasro, Director General, Antiquities, Munawar Ali Mahesar, Director Culture, Kaleem Lashari, a retired bureaucrat and archaeologist, Muhammad Ahmed Shah, President Arts Council of Pakistan, Abdul Fateh Shaikh, Director Antiquities, Habibullah Memon, Director Culture, Santosh Kumar, Director Culture, Adil Ahmed Assistant Director, Haleem Soomro, Private Secretary to Minister Culture, Arshad Ahmed, Coordinator to Minister, Sanjay Kumar, Media Person, Atif Hussain, PRO to Minister, Javed Ali Shaikh Guide, Naved Ahmed Sangah Field Officer, Sikandar Hulio (Bilawal House employee for social media), Altaf Hussain Aseem (Member, but no mention of what), Sarfraz Solangi, geologist, Ghulam Mustafa (Member TCC), Neelofer Shaikh, Archaeologist, Madad Ali Qureshi, Member Technical Committee, Humaira Mahesar Assistant Professor, Chand Gul Shah.
According to Suhail Memon, two of the female entourage were perhaps daughters of officials, also among those going abroad for musical nights.
The folk artists who were mentioned in the list are: Mukhtiar Naz Taj Mastani (Singer), Fakeer Faheem Ali (Folk Singer), Hassan Mirbahar, Arbab Khoso (Alghozo Player), Zulfiqar Ali (Boreendo Player), Allahdad Raza (Harmonium Player), Muhammad Achar (Dholak Player), Muhammad Talib (Banjo Player), Khadim Hussain (Dhol Player), Shahid Ali Keyboard Player), Faizan Ali Keyboard Player), Fakeer Muhammad Kunbhar (Artist), Saif Samejo (Singer).