LHC orders shrines be kept open round the clock

LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC), comprising Justice Umar.Ata Bandial and Justice Asad Munir, on Thursday, ordered the Auqaf Department to open shrines of Bibi Pak Daman in Lahore, Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shakkar and Khawaja Aziz Makki (both in Pakpattan) for the visitors every Thursday and Friday for 24 hours.The bench was hearing a petition moved by Waqarul Hasnain Naqvi and Rana Tanvir. Naqvi challenged the closure of Bibi Pak Daman shrine, while Tanvir challenged the closure of Pakpattan shrines at 8pm daily by the Auqaf authorities, also sought replies from the Punjab home secretary, and inspector general of police till August 3.The bench directed the authorities to ensure security of visitors to the shrines. The petitioners’ counsel said that Auqaf authorities had ordered closure of all the shrines by 8pm after twin suicide attacks on the shrine of Hazrat Data Gunj Bux (RA) last year. He said the action was challenged in the LHC and the court had set aside the same. The counsel alleged that the authorities concerned ignored the court’s order and went ahead with the closure of shrines by 8pm. “This amounts to contempt of court,” he alleged.He requested the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Auqaf officials. Earlier, the counsel for Auqaf Department informed the court that the department had to fix timings for visitors to the shrines across the province following instructions from law enforcement agencies.