Protest against anti-encroachment drive turns violent

Updated August 26, 2019

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Officials came to Ahsanabad area on the outskirts of the city to remove encroachments from green belts. 1 Dawn/File
Officials came to Ahsanabad area on the outskirts of the city to remove encroachments from green belts. 1 Dawn/File

KARACHI: Police on Sunday fired tear gas and baton-charged people when a protest demonstration against an anti-encroachment drive in Ahsanabad turned violent and angry mob set on fire two vehicles and the house of a man.

Officials backed by law enforcers came to Ahsanabad area on the outskirts of the city to remove encroachments from green belts, parks and other amenity plots on the directives of the Supreme Court. However, the occupants of the said places put up resistance and the area turned into a battlefield.

They said that two cars and the house of a member of the Ahsanabad Society who was said to be active against encroachments were torched by the mob.

“The police fired tear gas and resorted to baton-charge to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,” said DIG-East Amir Farooqi.

He said that certain political elements and close relatives of elected representatives were allegedly leading the protest against the anti-encroachment drive.

He said that the anti-encroachment drive in Ahsanabad had been going on for the past four months on the directives of the apex court to remove encroachments from amenity plots, parks and open spaces. “The protest was carried out at the behest of the land mafia in which two vehicles and one house was torched.”

He said that those involved in the violence would be taken to task and a case was being registered against them.

The police said that the Ahsanabad cooperative housing society spread over 500 acres and 200 acres were under encroachment.

Sharing details of the alleged encroachments, the police said that till April 2009, there were no encroachments in Ahsanabad. However, ‘china-cutting’ began in Feb 2010 and the same month the apex court took notice of it and issued directives to prevent encroachments.

In April 2011, the judiciary directed the then DIG-East, SSP Malir and others to take action against encroachments. In 2012, the court directed the police authorities to provide extra force and implement their order within seven days.

In Feb 2013, Allah Bux Goth was encroached as the police authorities failed to implement the court’s order. In 2014, roads, open spaces and others were encroached as part of ‘china-cutting’.

Next year, the court directed the Sindh police chief to personally appear before it and explain as to why its order was not being implemented. As the police chief did not appear, the court issued contempt of court notice to the IG, Malir SSP and Sindh Board of Revenue officials.

By Sept 2018, around 80 per cent area of Allah Bux Goth was encroached allegedly by land grabbers and original allottees were threatened of dire consequences if they pursue the case, the officials said.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2019