SC orders removal of Karachi encroachments
KARACHI: Giving outright directions to civic authorities for retrieving state land, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the provincial government to demolish all buildings that were built in contravention of the city’s master plan, ARY News reported.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who is monitoring the anti-encroachment drive, ordered that all buildings raised against the rules should be knocked down. “Let’s restore the city to its original 40-year-old position,” he said while hearing the case at SC’s Karachi Registry.
The court ordered retrieval of land approved for construction of parks, hospitals and playgrounds.
The SC bench expressed resentment, saying it was shocking to discover that eight-storey residential buildings are being constructed on government quarters.
Justice Gulzar said everyone [in power] connived to make money from these illegal modes.
“Who’s giving permissions to build wedding halls, shopping plazas in every corner of the city”, the court asked. “Is this city owned by their father,” the incensed judge questioned.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked whether this city should be handed over to the federal government.
Director General Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Iftikhar Qaimkhani, said the work on court orders was underway. “A more will be done [in the light of court orders]’, he added.
Qaimkhani was also grilled by the court. “What if we show the door to you,” SC bench asked. The SBCA director apologized to the court and assured the court that its decisions would be implemented.
Justice Gulzar resented that wedding halls had sprung up everywhere in the city. “There was a time when citizens would organize marriage gatherings outside their homes, but now a different culture has developed,” he remarked.
In the last hearing on Jan 12, Justice Gulzar had said that Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and other departments have destroyed the city and directed the provincial government to take reins of the Master Plan of Karachi and initiate a new beginning. While on Jan 11, the court had sought progress report on the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi
Last year, on Oct 27, the Supreme Court had directed Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar to remove all encroachments from the city’s amenity plots and pavements with the help of law enforcement agencies and granted a 15-day deadline to city authorities for compliance of its orders.