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KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan was informed on Sunday that the provincial authorities would refer the matter of the Mehmoodabad Treatment Plant land ‘illegally’ allotted by former city nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal to the Sindh Anti-Corruption Establishment for investigation.

In compliance with the court’s earlier order, the provincial government’s chief law officer placed before a three-judge bench of the apex court the report of the local government secretary on the allotment of 49.1 acres of the treatment plant land to the affectees of Lines Area by the then City District Council.

Headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the bench was conducting the suo motu proceedings on pollution.

During a previous hearing the apex court had asked the local government secretary to conduct an inquiry into the allotment of land reserved for the treatment plant after Mr Kamal had deposed that the land was allotted to the affectees of the Lines Area. Later, the court directed Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to conduct the inquiry into the matter when he appeared before the court in “drinking water case”.

The local government secretary’s report said that the district council of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) on Feb 2008 passed a resolution for allotment of the treatment plant’s land to the people displaced due to the construction of the Preedy Street.

The report said that the record revealed that 1,319 plots of 120, 80 and 20 yards were carved out for the affected people on the orders of the then city nazim.

It said that the original note sheet regarding the approval of allotment of land was missing, but its photocopies were provided by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board. “The note sheet reveals that at para-6 the managing director of the KWSB informed the then nazim, who was also chairman of the KWSB, regarding handing over 49.25 acres to the CDGK for utilisation of same for resettlement. The then nazim in has capacity as the chairman of the KWSB approved the proposal on 26-12-2008,” the report said.

In its conclusion, the local government secretary stated that the land reserved for the treatment plan was of amenity purpose and using it for any other purpose was violation of Section 10 (2) of the Sindh Disposal of Urban Land Ordinance 2002 and the Sindh Building Control Authority regulations.

He said the CDGK was not authorised to convert the purpose of amenity land to residential as the land did not belong to the KMC/CDGK.

The local government secretary further concluded that although the land belonged to the water utility, approval of its board was not obtained and “only the chairman of board who also nazim of CDGK (Mr Mustafa Kamal) accounted approval for allotment of land to the affectees of Lines Area as resolution of CDGK council and note date 26-12-2008 submitted by the managing director of the KWSB to the nazim CDGK/chairman KWSB”.

The local government secretary stated that the matter needed a thorough probe by a professional investigation agency to fix responsibility. “The chief secretary has been requested to refer the matter to the Anti-Corruption Establishment or any other investigation agency”, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2018