MQM challenges in court ‘ethnic-based, illegal’ creation of Keamari district

Updated 13 Nov 2020

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Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leaders have approached the Sindh High Court against the creation of Keamari district. — Wikimedia Commons/File
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leaders have approached the Sindh High Court against the creation of Keamari district. — Wikimedia Commons/File

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leaders on Thursday slammed the Sindh government for carving out the seventh district out of Karachi and approached the Sindh High Court against the creation of Keamari district.

They contended that it was not an administrative decision, but an attempt to divide the city on ethnic lines and strengthen the political position of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The MQM leaders, Khawaja Izharul Hasan and Salman Mujahid, were talking to journalists on the premises of the SHC after filing an application along with a party supporter from Keamari to become an intervener in the petition already pending before the SHC challenging the notification issued in September to notify Keamari district.

They were of the view that it was a politically-motivated decision made without consulting the stakeholders and the people of the area, adding that the decision was made to achieve political goals by the ruling party in Sindh as the final result of the population census 2017 has not yet been announced while the delimitation of local government jurisdictions in the province has also not yet been carried out.

The MQM leaders further said that provincial government had so far submitted nothing in court to justify the move apart from a notification of the new district.

It was contended in the application that despite pendency of the petition in question, the provincial authorities had also notified the district municipal corporation of Keamari.

Opposition Leader Naqvi gets bail in NAB inquiry

It further argued that under the relevant laws, it was mandatory to hold a public hearing before creating a new district and contended that the move was unconstitutional and illegal and pleaded to set aside the notification of the new district.

Initially, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA from Karachi Aamir Liaquat Hussain had petitioned the SHC against the Sindh government for carving out a new district out of Karachi and contended that it was done in violation of law and proper procedure had also not been followed.

The provincial government had created the new district of Keamari through a notification issued on Sept 4.

Additional secretary summoned in price hike case

A divisional bench of the SHC on Thursday directed the additional secretary of the services, general administration and coordination department (SGA&CD) to appear on Dec 8 in court, in a petition filed against the menace of profiteering, black marketing and hoarding of essential commodities in the province.

When the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar took up the petition for hearing, the secretary of agriculture, supply and price department of Sindh contended that he was holding the ex-officio charge of director general of bureau of supply and prices since the regular post of DG was not mentioned in the budget book issued by the SGA&CD.

The bench said that in order to seek clarification, the additional secretary was directed to turn up on the next hearing.

Responding to a question of the bench regarding compliance with regard to certain duties and responsibilities of their department, the secretary of agriculture and deputy director of bureau of supply and prices contended that various functions were already being performed by them and requested for some time to submit details in writing. Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till Dec 8.

The petitioner, advocate Tariq Mansoor, sought enforcement of laws pertaining to control of hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities in the province.

He contended that under the Hoarding and Black Market Act, 1948 the federal government should appoint special judges to hold trial of the offences under this act, but despite the fact that the law was in the field since 1948 such appointments were not made yet.

The petitioner further maintained that the provincial authorities had also failed to implement the Sindh Essential Commodities Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 2005 and Sindh Registration of Godowns Act, 2005 in letter and spirit while the commissioner was authorised to take cognizance under the Karachi Essential Articles (Price Control and Anti-Hoarding) Act 1953, but it was also not being put into practice.

Opposition Leader Naqvi gets bail

Another divisional bench of the SHC on Thursday granted interim pre-arrest bail to Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi in an inquiry being conducted by the National Accountability Bureau.

The opposition leader through his lawyer moved the SHC and after the preliminary hearing, the two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro granted interim bail against a surety bond of Rs1 million till Nov 27. The bench also issued notices to NAB for next hearing.

The lawyer for the petitioner contended that the anti-corruption watchdog was probing an allotment of land in the favour of Habib Group of Companies and the petitioner was one of the directors of the group in 2006.

He submitted that NAB had summoned Mr Naqvi again in this regard and sought pre-arrest bail.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2020