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Operation clean-up: ‘Illegal shops’ around Karachi’s Empress Market demolished

KARACHI: Almost a week after protests from shopkeepers against the ongoing anti-encroachment operation, the team of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) with the help of law enforcement agencies demolished illegally-built shops around the Empress Market, ARY News reported.

The operation against encroachments around the Empress Market was launched on late Saturday night with the use of heavy machinery by the KMC’s anti-encroachment team. The shop owners were already intimated by the KMC administration to vacate the shops before they were bulldozed.

The teams had already cut off the connections of gas and electricity before razing illegal shops. The road outside the Empress Market was later closed for traffic with heavy deployment of police and Rangers personnel. Traffic sergeants have also been stationed in the area diverting vehicular traffic towards alternative routes.

Director KMC’s Anti-Encroachment Cell Bashir Siddiqui said parks were located around the Empress Market 50 years, but they disappeared after widespread encroachment on the land. He said all illegal shops would be razed within three to four hours.

Similar operation was launched in Gulistan-e-Jauhar area on Friday night in which several shops were razed whose extensions had exceeded the legal limit.

The drive against encroachments, launched by the KMC under the Supreme Court orders, continued with the use of heavy machinery. The anti-encroachment team demolished all illegal settlements in Block-16 of Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

The KMC officials say the drive against encroachment will continue until they rid the area of all such illegally constructed shops that cause gridlocks on daily basis.

The Supreme Court on Oct 27 ordered that the illegal encroachments in the metropolis be removed within the next 15 days.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar heard a case against land mafia in Karachi at the top court’s Karachi registry.

Mayor Karachi had told the court that more than 70 per cent of Empress Market had been cleared. Moreover, the court directed the heads of the cantonment boards and rangers to cooperate with the administration in clearing out the encroachments in a peaceful manner and according to the law.

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