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Rawalpindi: Rose Cinema land issue takes a new turn

The Rose Cinema administration has claimed that it was the sole owner of the 1.7 kanals of land adjacent to the District Headquarters Hospital and it has not signed any lease agreement with the Tehsil Municipal Administration.

“The TMA has been getting rent from us through blackmailing. Whenever we resist the payment of rent, the TMA threaten us demolition of the cinema building,” alleged Mian Farooq Mohiuddin, managing partner of the cinema, at a press conference here on Tuesday.

“The chief settlement commissioner (Rawalpindi) transferred the Rose Cinema land to the family of present runners in 1960, who after spending Rs44,940 at that time, made the cinema operational,” he said. He claimed that in 1972 the Rose Cinema administration got permanent transfer deed from the settlement department after paying the outstanding amount.

“The Rose Cinema was handed over to our family against our claims of ownership of Rialto Cinema in Amritsar, India, before the partition.” According to the claim made by the Rose cinema administration, the Rialto Cinema in Amritsar, India, was owned by Ghulam Mohiuddin.

He said that later (after 1972) the TMA started getting rent of the cinema in the name of ‘teh bazaari’ — the ground rent of a stall in the market — and issued notices regarding demolition of shops located in the premises of the cinema. “The Rose Cinema administration had challenged the same at various forums in the past,” he said and added that there was no lease agreement between the Rose Cinema administration and TMA as such. “We have already submitted documents to the TMA office substantiating that we are the owners of the cinema and land,” he said adding that the TMA is however adamant to get hold of the land.

He said that the Rose Cinema administration had appealed to the provincial local government secretary in Lahore a few months back against the rent being received by the TMA. “If the TMA is owner of the land, it should submit the ownership certificate to the Punjab local government secretary or prove its ownership in the court of the civil judge, Rawalpindi, where the matter is pending.”

He claimed that Civil Judge Syed Imran Raza Naqvi had issued a stay order in the case on July 30 this year, directing the Rose cinema administration not to pay rent to the TMA till final decision of the case. “The court has fixed September 6 as the next date of hearing.”

Khursheed Iqbal, another partner of the cinema, said that the TMA had sealed the cinema several times in the past on the issue of non-payment of rent. “We had no option but to pay rent to the TMA for running our business,” he said.

He said that the cinema building should not be demolished. He said that the cinema land could not be handed over to the District Headquarters Hospital without giving compensation to its owners. “The government may acquire any property but for this purpose there is a proper way which should be adopted.”

When asked why the cinema administration did not move the court during last three decades against the demand of rent by the TMA, the cinema owners could not satisfy journalists.

TMA officials, on the other hand, have repeatedly stated that the Rose Cinema land was on a 33-year lease and its lease agreement with the TMA had expired a few months back. Concerned officials at the TMA have also said that the Rose Cinema land would be allotted to the District Headquarters Hospital on 99-year lease.

The Rawal Town Council had endorsed a resolution about one-and-a-half years back suggesting that the piece of land acquired by the Rose Cinema should be given to the District Headquarters Hospital for establishing required wards. The house has unanimously approved a resolution demanding from the Punjab government, provincial ministry of health and the TMA to issue orders for handing over the Rose Cinema land to the hospital. In February this year, former Punjab governor Lieutenant General ® Khalid Maqbool had assured the hospital administration through provincial health secretary that he would take all possible measures for resolution of the issue of handing over the cinema land to the hospital for developing wards.

Talking to ‘The News’ after the press conference on Tuesday, Khursheed Iqbal said that they had moved the court with a complaint that the TMA is not the owner of the Rose Cinema land. “The cinema administration is the real owner of the land.”

When asked why they failed to make it clear during last three decades that they were the real owners of the cinema land, the cinema runners said that the TMA should have proved in the court that it was the owner of the land.

Source: The News

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