KARACHI Mayor Waseem Akhtar has been busy these days in anti-encroachment drive in Karachi on the orders of the Supreme Court. All illegal shops around Empress Market have been demolished after a massive operation.
This operation continues in other parts of Karachi, and Karachi Circular Railway tracks are also being cleared of this mess. This is praiseworthy and a right step by the Supreme Court.
But there are questions which need to be answered. Those whose shops have now been bulldozed by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) claim their shops were ‘legal’ and they were paying a ‘rent’ to the KMC for the last several decades.
We all know these shops cropped up illegally like mushrooms in the last few decades all over Saddar, particularly, around Empress Market, for these shops are not in the Empress Market master plan. The ‘rent’ being paid by shopkeepers to the KMC was actually extortion. The mayor rightly demolished the illegal structures around Empress Market.
But then the question is: if the illegal shops have been demolished, why is there no action against the KMC? The corporation is a partner in crime. It had established a whole ‘market’ around Empress Market and some of the unscrupulous employees had been receiving bhatta from shopkeepers?
The KMC, like other government departments, is plagued by corruption. If this department is not cleansed of corruption, this rot will continue. I urge chief justice of Pakistan to initiate an ‘anti-corruption operation’ within the KMC.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2018