Karachi, Sept 29 : The National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Karachi has reportedly rejected the notice served on it by the Sindh Provincial Culture and Tourism Department, ordering it to vacate the Hindu Gymkhana. The Academy said it was "determined to preserve and promote" the country's rich legacy of classical, traditional and contemporary performing arts.
"We are not going to vacate the building and will defend our position at every forum. We will go to the court of law if pushed", said a senior NAPA official.
According to the paper, the NAPA management is now engaged in preparing a reply to the notice issued last week by the Culture and Tourism Department, asking the NAPA management to vacate Hindu Gymkhana within 90 days. The Sindh Government leased out the premises of the Hindu Gymkhana to NAPA under an agreement in September 2005.
In their notice to NAPA, the Sindh Culture Department had alleged that the NAPA had violated the agreement by putting up a theatre within the premises, and that this act violates the provisions of the Sindh Heritage Act.
However, NAPA officials deny the allegation, saying that they have not made any alteration to the original structure of the building. "The theatre under construction stands on the site where the Sindh Government had already raised a ramshackle construction, long before NAPA was established," said one official.
He added that the in-house theatre was constructed with the full approval of Karachi Building Control Authority and that documents were available to prove this point. In his opinion, the establishment of the Academy inside Hindu Gymkhana had actually saved the building from decline and destruction. "We have not only kept the original fa§ade of the building intact but restored it to its original grandeur", he said.