KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued orders to clear illegal structures built on government properties, and directed the authorities to allot the freed up land to federal government employees.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry, was hearing a case pertaining to encroachments in the metropolis.
The chief justice reprimanded the Clifton Cantonment Board land director for “closing his eyes when [ill-gotten] money was being made.”
“Fortunes have been amassed and now they say that these buildings are illegal,” he said.
The court ordered the officials to demolish illegal buildings in Gizri, PNT Colony, Punjab Colony and Delhi Colony areas of the port city.
The attorney general, chief secretary, commissioner Karachi and other officials were present during the hearing.
The CJP, at the start of the hearing, asked the officials how and upon whose permission the illegal buildings were erected.
He said that nine-storey buildings were still being constructed in Karachi and ordered that they be razed to the ground.
The CJP deemed the situation as “horrible” and asked the officials present if they walked the city streets with their eyes closed.
“You were entrusted with state-owned land and what have you done with this trust?” remarked the CJP.
Justice Ahmed said that the residents of the colony on Jahangir Road be moved elsewhere but the government should vacate its property.
To this, the attorney general sought time from the court to figure out a solution in consultation with all the stakeholders.
However, in his exchange with the attorney general, the CJP remarked that neither the city government nor the provincial or federal governments were “doing anything”.
“No government is working so who should we invite?” said CJP Ahmed, adding that the problem was that “the government officials do not want to work.”
The court also directed the chief secretary to get rid of all the encroachments in the city and put in a request for the re-settlement of the residents of the katchi abadis and affected people. He also directed the officials to invite the recommendations of experts through media.
The court also directed the authorities to build a park at Nehr-e-Khayyam, and banned commercial buildings near the site.
The case was later adjourned till February 21. INP