KARACHI: The Do Darya food street set up along the city’s coastline is on the verge of closure to pave the way for some upcoming high-end, seafront residential and commercial projects in Defence Phase VIII.

With hashtags #DoDarya, #SaveDoDarya doing rounds on social media, many citizens seem totally dejected at the idea of losing this scenic location to upscale developments.

Unlike the food streets in other parts of the city, the 1.5-kilometre-long food street offers a fine dining experience along with cooling sea breeze and scenic views and attracts visitors from all over Karachi and many foreigners.

Around 10 years ago, this barren area was notorious for drugs and other crimes. People feared to venture on this side and those who had bought plots in Phase VIII often dreaded the decision.

However, the investors who leased the spots at Do Darya took the risk and set up their food outlets in an outdoor setting. The concept took off and there was no looking back.

A Do Darya restaurateur said: “This place was barren. We were given a lease for five years [by the Defence Housing Authority]. We were given the assurance that it would be extended for another 20-25 years. We made sure to set up the place, bring value to the area and have thousands of people coming in every weekend.

“DHA had informed us that the lease would not be renewed, so we filed a case against them in 2014 and got a stay order ... the tenure of that stay order is set to finish in about two months,” he said, requesting anonymity.

‘Not an easy fight’

“DHA hopes we will vacate the area in about two months but we are fighting. It’s not an easy fight but we are trying,” the restaurant owner said, adding: “On an average, Rs250 million has been spent on the property and this investment is not coming back. When we vacate the premises, I can assure you they [DHA] won’t even let us walk away with wooden planks.”

The area offers employment to around 5,000 workers, including cooks, guards, waiters and valets.

A source said that the DHA had already taken over a number of establishments in the vicinity and posted its guards there.

A visit to the locality shows that some restaurants have shut down, with vehicles of DHA Vigilance patrolling the section.

A spokesman for the DHA was not available for comments when contacted.

Expensive properties in the offing

“The plots belong to the Army Sports Club and Navy Sports Club while the other pieces of land have been earmarked for Chinese investors who plan to build high-end, seafront properties,” said a realtor.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...
Nuclear miscalculations
26 Jan, 2023

Nuclear miscalculations

IF the claim of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, that Pakistan and India came close to a nuclear exchange...
Exchange rate cap
26 Jan, 2023

Exchange rate cap

THE ‘management’ of the exchange rate by the State Bank, allegedly at the behest of the government, to ward off...
Fawad’s arrest
Updated 26 Jan, 2023

Fawad’s arrest

Does the state really need to fan public discontent in a period as fraught with uncertainty as this?