KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the chief secretary to arrange a meeting with the Karachi commissioner, municipal commissioner and director (land) of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to solve the issues of land for the proposed truck and bus stand.
Hearing a set of petitions about the issues of heavy vehicles and deteriorating traffic situation in the provincial metropolis, a two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed that the land was required in the public interest after the KMC official submitted that the provincial authorities had not handed over the land to municipal authorities with proper demarcation.
The bench asked the chief secretary to address the issue.
In compliance with an earlier order of the bench, the senior member of the board of revenue, Shamsuddin Soomro, and transport and mass transit secretary Ghulam Abbas Sehto were in attendance when the petitions came up for hearing on Wednesday.
In the last hearing, a representative of the All Pakistan Bus and Van Welfare Association had submitted that 30 acres of private land was available near the Lyari Expressway for intercity long-route terminal.
The law secretary is working on a regulatory system for use of CNG in vehicles, SHC told
Both the officials submitted that a committee had been constituted to visit the private land and it would also examine the title of the land and consider whether it was feasible for the terminal. They said they will file a progress report on the next date.
A representative of the commissioner office submitted that around 50 acres, located at Deh Mochko in Mauripur, had already been handed over to the KMC.
However, land director Shaikh Kamal submitted that the proper handing over had not taken place with demarcation.
In order to solve the controversy, the bench directed the representative of the commissioner office along with mukhtiarkar and director (land) to visit the land in question for its proper demarcation and handing over.
The director (land) will come up with proper proposals for construction of an oil tanker terminal.
Replying to another submission of the transport secretary that 150 acres at the Northern Bypass were available to the KMC for the purpose of terminals, the director (land) said that no such land had been given to the KMC.
At this, the commissioner’s representative submitted that the land would be handed over after payment of the cost and the same argument was advanced by the lawyer for the board of revenue.
The director (land) submitted that the KMC had no funds for payment of land and it was facing a financial crunch.
The bench asked the chief secretary to convene a meeting and resolve the issue so that modalities of the transfer would be settled. It directed that the outcome of the meeting must be conveyed to the court on the next date.
A representative of a transporters’ association submitted that the land near the Northern Bypass would not be feasible. He suggested that the senior member of the board of revenue might search more lands for terminal so that he could convince all members of his association to make some contributions for the purchase of the land through the KMC if possible.
The commissioner’s representative submitted that apart from 150 acres, 250 acres of land were also earmarked at the Northern Bypass, but again it would be handed over to the KMC after payment.
The bench adjourned the matter till Aug 6, directing the land utilisation member to appear in person on the next date.
Faisal Bengali and others had moved the SHC over worsening traffic situation in Karachi and seeking rerouting of heavy vehicles through non-residential areas as well as improvement in public transport.
They asked the court to issue directives for the authorities to improve public transport and introduce other alternatives to help commuters and reduce the burden on the existing transport. The court was further asked to order the authorities to strictly conduct fitness tests of vehicles running on city roads.
Use of CNG kits in school vans
The provincial authorities informed the same bench on Wednesday that the law secretary would prepare a draft law on the CNG-related issue including creation of a regulatory system in cooperation with the secretaries of the transport and industries departments.
The bench was hearing a number of petitions about use of substandard CNG kits and cylinders in commercial vehicles as well as school vans.
At the outset, the additional advocate general filed a statement along with the minutes of a meeting attended by secretaries of transport, industries, consultant to the chief secretary and additional advocate general.
The bench was informed that besides the draft law and proposed regulatory system, the district implementation committees had been constituted to implement the ban on use of CNG/LPG cylinders in school, college, university and seminary vans.
Money laundering case
The Federal Investigation Agency on Wednesday submitted its reply in the SHC on a petition challenging the transfer of a money laundering case related to the Khidmat-i-Khalq Foundation, a charity wing of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, to Islamabad.
MQM leader Ahmed Ali moved the SHC against the transfer of the case to Islamabad and contended that the interior ministry and the director general of the FIA had violated the law by transferring the case to the federal capital.
An assistant director of the FIA appeared before a two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and filed his comments.
When the bench asked the FIA official whether the KKF was still operating in the provincial metropolis, he replied that the KKF was not operative on paper but was working on the ground.
An assistant attorney general informed the bench that the petitioner, Ahmed Ali, himself had been a part of the KKF.
The matter was adjourned to a date to be fixed by the office in August after court holidays.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019