SC retracts ban on construction of multi-storey, high-rise buildings in Karachi

Updated December 11, 2018

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Apex court says construction of new structures can continue "in accordance with the law". — PPI/File photo
Apex court says construction of new structures can continue "in accordance with the law". — PPI/File photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday retracted its earlier decision to ban the construction of buildings with more than six storeys in Karachi, and ordered that new high rises can be erected in accordance with the law.

In March 2017, the apex court, while hearing a case on the non-availability of potable water and deteriorating sanitation conditions in Karachi, had imposed a ban on construction of high-rise buildings in Sindh. It had restrained the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and cantonment boards from issuing building approval plans for new high-rise and multi-storey commercial and residential projects.

In May 2017, the SBCA, acting on the orders passed by the Supreme Court, had imposed a complete ban on the construction of high-rise buildings beyond ground-plus-two storeys — a decision challenged by the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) in the top court.

An SC bench, while hearing the case in Karachi registry today, retracted its order — much to ABAD Chairman Hasan Bakhshi's relief.

"We have suffered many difficulties these last two years," Bakhshi told media representatives outside the court. "This was a major problem for us. Our 500 projects were stuck for approval and another 500 projects' material was ready. Our Rs500 billion worth of investment was stuck.

"We are grateful to the Supreme Court. Now the SBCA, water board and other departments should also cooperate with us."

The Abad chair noted that the court has directed Karachi's builders to construct "according to the law", adding that "we respect the law and will cooperate with the SBCA."

Bakhshi also offered his organisation's assistance to Prime Minister Imran Khan in his plan to construct five million houses during his tenure.