KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered to immediately raze to the ground the 11-storey residential building Nasla Tower on Karachi’s Sharae Quaideen.
During the marathon hearing on Wednesday at the Karachi Registry of the petitions against the encroachments in the megacity, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed issued the orders for demolition of the Nasla Tower.
Rejecting the pleas of the builder and the residents, the apex court declared the building as illegal. The CJP said the China cutting is being carried out in such a way in Karachi that people occupy more land than what they possess.
Justice Ijazul Hassan said that the KMC report showed that some area was used illegally by the Nasla Tower. He said part of building was constructed on the service road. Not only the service road but Shahra-e-Faisal was also gobbled by the building.
Chief Justice Gulzar said that the building had encroached upon the footpath. Salah-ud-Din, the counsel for Nasla Tower, argued that the building was not constructed on the service road. On this, the CJ asked for the original plan of the tower.
Justice Ijaz said that originally the tower developer acquired 780 square land on lease. The rest of the land was not leased out, he added. He asked the tower lawyer to see pictures which were showing that the building was sprawling to service road.
The counsel said that the service road was built on his client’s land. He said the KMC sold this land to Sindhi Muslim Society and the tower developer bought this land from the Sindhi Muslim Society.
The CJ asked the lawyer to show the lease deed. He said if the society sold you this piece of land, still this selling deed of service road was illegal. Justice Ijaz said that the tower development illegally occupied 341 square yards area.
In Gujjar and Orangi nullahs encroachment case, the Supreme Court ordered the Karachi Municipal Corporation to bulldoze every illegal structure in the sprawling swathes of the city, rejecting the plea to halt the ongoing anti-encroachment operation.
The Supreme Court resumed hearing on Gujjar Nullah anti-encroachment in Karachi registry on Wednesday after a gap of one day.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad while hearing the case asked the administrator of KMC to apprise the court regarding updates of the anti-encroachment operation in Gujjar Nullah. He said the KMC was given two days to clear the encroachments from that area.
The KMC administrator told the court that anti-encroachment drive had been started in Gujjar Nullah and Pavilion End Club. He said that the clean-up operation to remove encroachments from Allahdin and other areas was also going on. He said there were lots of encroachments which could not be removed in just two days’ time.
He asked for more time to bring down the illegal structures. The attorney general pleaded the court to halt bulldozing of illegal houses built on land given on lease till the government provided the residents with some substitute arrangement.
But the apex court did not accept his plea and ordered the KMC to continue with the anti-encroachment drive. The court demanded a substitute plan on Gujjar and Orangi nullahs.
Chief Justice Gulzar remarked that all these encroachments were allowed by the government authorities themselves. ‘Every structure that is illegal, will be brought down,’ he said adding that it was just the beginning. He said every person who was responsible for illegally allotting or leasing public land would be apprehended.
The KMC administrator said that his department was facing shortage of funds and the task before it was gigantic.
On this, the CJ remarked that the KMC had been made hollow. He asked who was responsible for the destruction of the department. He said the KMC used to be the self-sufficient in generating the revenues. But now, no worker of KMC seems to be doing anything, he said.
The chief justice asked the administrator to remove 80% staff of the KMC, as the department was overstaffed.
CJ Gulzar reminisced that in the past the KMC people used to start cleaning the city at 3am before the people got out from their beds. But now the KMC doesn’t bother to clean it, he said. He said the department did 1,000pc overstaffing. He lamented that once these state institutes were considered assets of the country.
He said North Nazimabad used to be the best colony of Pakistan but now it had become a locality of broken roads and overflowing drainages. He regretted that Karachi had been destroyed.
He asked the KMC administrator, had its department rehabilitate the fields of Kashmir Road? He said Kashmir Road one of the most beautiful roads of the country. He said by constructing Imtiaz Store and other buildings, the beauty of the place was marred. He chided the administrator saying ‘did your mayor own some construction company?’
SC Judge Ijazul Hassan asked the board of revenue department to computerize the record of land in Sindh. He said that the department asked for two months’ time but years had gone by that the department could not able to computerize the land record.
Senior member of Board of Revenue said except Thatta district, all records had been computerized. Justice Ijaz said last time the board asked for extra time, it was in 2018. He said why Thatta’s record could not be computerized as yet?
The court showed its astonishment at the delay of record’s automation after a lapse of three years.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that since the record was not computerized, it caused several disputes. Revenue department bungles in the allotment of land, it keeps allotting one person’s land to another, he remarked. He fumed at the slow pace of the board of revenue, terming it the most corrupt institute. He said the illegal occupation of lands were going on because of this department.
The CJ asked how long would it take to complete the land survey in Karachi. On this, the member board of revenue told the court that the department would complete its survey in six months.
Justice Ijaz said the department did not have any master plan for Karachi. He said since 1940, no master plan had been designed for the mega city.
The CJ said that illegal occupation even on the welfare plots was going on. He said buildings were being popped up in Malir river (a seasonal river) area in Karachi. He asked the board member to go to Korangi and see for himself how many buildings had already been built.
He told him if his department people did not implement the SC orders, then he would be the first person to be removed from his office.