KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the provincial authorities to hold an inquiry against those involved in encroachments on parks, playgrounds and other amenity plots in the city.

A three-judge bench of the SC headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed ordered the Sindh chief secretary and law officer to hold an inquiry not only against land grabbers but also against those government officials who had helped them, and sought a compliance report within a month.

Hearing a constitutional petition of former city nazim Niamatullah Khan against encroachments on public parks and conversion of amenity land for commercial and residential purposes at the Supreme Court Karachi registry, the bench including Justices Maqbool Baqar and Munib Akhtar, also directed officials of the Karachi Development Authority and others to immediately remove the encroachments along Kashmir Road.

Wants immediate clearance of park along Kashmir Road

The bench was informed through a report that in compliance with its earlier orders, all encroachments along Kashmir Road had been removed.

However, Justice Ahmed came down hard on the officials and wondered how they could be unaware of a park along Kashmir Road which was still encroached upon.

He asked the officials to immediately clear encroachments from the park and also sought a report with pictures.

The bench expressed serious resentment over the authorities concerned for their failure to implement the directives of the apex court regarding removal of encroachments from amenity plots.

Justice Ahmed deplored that this petition had been pending since 2010, but the authorities failed to make any progress.

He recalled that once action used to be promptly taken even if an inch of state land was encroached upon, but now buildings were being constructed on parks, playgrounds and drains.

“This beautiful provincial metropolis has been turned into the city of buildings,” he remarked.

He said that anyone could build a structure against a bribe and nobody bothered to take action, adding that the way construction activities were going on and high-rises were being built, the city would ultimately face destruction.

Justice Ahmed asked the advocate general of Sindh what the provincial government had done during the last 10 years for the development of the provincial metropolis and said that where the provincial government had spent Rs250 billion as 90 per cent of the city had been ruined.

The SC had directed the authorities in April to immediately remove all illegal constructions, including marriage halls, along Kashmir Road, observing that the court would not tolerate encroachments on amenity plots.

In November last year, the SC had ordered the Karachi Development Authority to remove encroachments from all amenity plots in the city within two days.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2018