KARACHI: An anti-encroachment tribunal on Saturday summoned the provincial local government secretary, Karachi administrator and commissioner, director of the Katchi Abadis department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation along with their respective replies regarding likely demolition of houses over leased land along Gujjar Nullah.
The tribunal, headed by its presiding officer Shakil Ahmed Abbasi, directed the provincial and local authorities to submit their replies by March 25.
Over 50 residents approached the tribunal citing the LG secretary, Karachi administrator and commissioner, the chairman of District Municipal Corporation-Central, the director general of the Karachi Development Authority and director anti-encroachment, KMC, as defendants.
The suits have been filed under Sections 13 and 14 of the Sindh Public Property (Removal of Encroachment) Act, 2010.
The plaintiffs submitted through their counsel Khawaja Altaf that they had built houses in Blocks 5, 18, 19 and other areas of Kausar Niazi Colony after obtaining proper leases.
The counsel submitted that the Sindh Katchi Abadis department, KDA and KMC had lawfully granted 99-year lease to the plaintiffs in respect of the plots in question between the 1970s and 2002 and they had built their houses upon fulfilling all legal formalities.
Plaintiffs say their houses were built on leased land but KMC is planning to raze them
He further submitted that recently the officials of the KMC’s anti-encroachment department had marked certain portions of the houses of the plaintiffs, who apprehended that the same were likely to be demolished as part of the ongoing operation to retrieve the lands along Gujjar Nullah.
The counsel submitted that no prior notices had been issued to his clients, which was a violation of Section 3 of the anti-encroachment law of 2010. Secondly, he added, when the plaintiffs approached the relevant department the officials refused to share any information in this regard, which was also a violation of Article 19-A of the Constitution.
Advocate Altaf argued that the defendants’ actions to demolish constructions on the lawfully leased land would amount to a violation of Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The tribunal was asked to declare that the land possessed by the plaintiffs was lawfully leased to them by relevant departments.
It was also requested to grant a stay against likely demolition of the houses/portions of the houses of the plaintiffs over leased lands.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2021