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Will resign if a single house is razed in Karachi: Mayor Waseem Akhtar

Updated December 07, 2018

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Mayor Waseem Akhtar defended the removal of encroachments from markets and roads but opposed the idea of erasing illegal properties. — DawnNewsTV
Mayor Waseem Akhtar defended the removal of encroachments from markets and roads but opposed the idea of erasing illegal properties. — DawnNewsTV

After the federal government on Friday filed a review petition before the Supreme Court against the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Karachi, Mayor Waseem Akhtar held a press conference to record protest against plans to demolish illegal houses during the drive.

Though the mayor defended the removal of encroachments from markets and roads, he opposed the idea of razing illegal houses. "I will resign if a single house is touched," Akhtar told the news conference.

Akhtar said that the markets set up by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) were also razed during the ongoing operation, which is being run under his supervision.

He announced that in the first phase, the KMC will arrange 1,000 shops for the affectees of the anti-encroachment drive as an alternative, adding that the KMC was supporting the affected people.

He said the corporation had received court orders to remove encroachments from parks, footpaths, and nullahs.

"Some people have started point-scoring over the operation against encroachments," he added.

Earlier in the day, Governor Sindh Imran Ismael's spokesperson said that the decision to file a review petition had been taken at a recent meeting between the governor and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to the spokesperson, the governor had apprised the prime minister about the concerns and reservations of the affected people.

Subsequently, the federal government pleaded before the apex court to grant space and time in order to ensure the rehabilitation process.

On Monday, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani had also said that those affected by the ongoing operation against encroachments would not be left alone and soon they would be provided alternative places.

Furthermore, the minister had made it clear that the Sindh government would not demolish any house and if the judiciary issued any such order the government would itself take up the matter in court.