By Naeem Sadiq
Mr. Justice Maqbool Baqar
Sindh High Court
DHA promoting sectarianism
In September 2009, two Karachi citizens filed an appeal in the Sindh High Court against the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Karachi stating that the DHA be asked to remove the requirement of declaring religion and sect from its application forms for allotment of plots in DHA City Karachi. The citizens pleaded that this was a totally irrelevant piece of information for the purpose of allotment of plots. Any Pakistani citizen could apply for a plot regardless of his / her religion or sect. By making it obligatory for citizens to declare their sect and religion, the DHA appeared to be taking plot allocation decisions on the basis of an individual being ‘sunni’, ‘shia’, ‘christian’, ‘ahmadi’ or ‘hindu’. Such acts could only be perceived as discriminatory and acting to further promote religious discord and sectarianism amongst citizens.
The Sindh High Court upheld the appeal and in its judgment of September 3, 2009, ordered that the respondent DHA shall score off column 9 which required the disclosure of religion and sect. The DHA confirmed that it would comply with the court’s orders.
Five years down the road, one however finds the DHA reverting back to its obsession for incorporating sect and religion into its purely commercial practices. It continues to have the superfluous columns of ‘domicile’, ‘religion’ and ‘sect’ in its currently used membership application forms. By doing so it forces citizen to declare what is not even remotely the business of DHA. Demanding more of such declarations only promotes divisions and differences amongst citizens. For a country fighting a war of survival because of such splits, it is surprising that the DHA should continue to remain so mindlessly fussy about knowing the faith of its customers.
The DHA has violated the Sindh High Court orders by not removing the requirement of declaration of ‘sect’, ‘domicile’ and ‘religion’ from all its forms. As a citizen, I appeal to the Honourble Chief Justice of the Sindh High court to take suo motto notice of DHA’s contempt of court and also to ask the DHA to remove the requirement for declaring ‘sect’, ‘domicile’ or ‘religion’ from all DHA documents.
Citizen of Pakistan