JI protests over KMC’s ‘biased’ anti-encroachment drive in city

Published December 1, 2018
JI activists and traders hold a sit-in in front of the KMC building on Friday.—White Star
JI activists and traders hold a sit-in in front of the KMC building on Friday.—White Star

KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Friday held a “protest convention” outside the office of the Karachi mayor against what it described as a “biased anti-encroachment operation”, being conducted by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) in the city.

A large number of party workers along with affected shopkeepers and people from different walks of life, including members of the private schools’ association, attended the protest.

Addressing the protesters, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rahman announced that his party would stage a sit-in outside the Civic Centre on Dec 5 in protest over the displacement of shopkeepers and traders of the old city area markets.

The party would also initiate a protest campaign in the residential areas and trade centres from Saturday (today), he added.

The party plans a sit-in outside Civic Center on Dec 5

“The victims of the anti-encroachment campaign should register their cases with our Citizens’ Action Committee, which we have set up to facilitate the displaced shopkeepers and traders,” he said. “Our party would continue its legal and democratic struggle for the displaced shopkeepers and traders of old city area. The protest campaign will begin in every nook and corner of the metropolis to raise voice against injustice.”

He demanded alternative places and compensation for the displaced shopkeepers.

He also asked the authorities not to demolish the shops of those who had got lease documents and called for introducing a regularisation policy for the displaced shopkeepers on the same pattern as that of the regularisation of Banigala, where Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Islamabad residence is located.

“We would also take our fight to courts and put our case before the judiciary against the KMC and Sindh Building Control Authority [SBCA] officials who were involved in illegal constructions,” he said. “We are not against the verdict of the Supreme Court but legal rights should prevail for all stakeholders during the anti-encroachment operation.”

He said that on one hand, the poor are being deprived of their employment and businesses and on the other the authorities concerned had not yet evacuated the encroached playgrounds and public parks from the land mafia.

He said that the Sindh government was equally responsible for the recent crisis.

He demanded strict action against those involved in illegal constructions and sought registration of criminal cases against those involved in “china cutting” of government land in the past.

“Around 6,000 shops have been demolished by the KMC during the anti-encroachment operation which has hit 50,000 families. It is sheer injustice by the state and it is so unfortunate that the authorities concerned have not taken any step to remove the encroachments from parks and playgrounds,” said Hafiz Naeem.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2018

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