KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a review petition against its earlier order to demolish a 15-storey building, known as Nasla Tower, after hearing the counsel at length.
On a request for granting some time to the occupants of the building, a three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed directed the Karachi commissioner to start the demolition work after one month.
In June, the SC bench had ordered the demolition of the building as a part of it was encroaching on the land meant for a service road.
The builder filed a review petition through senior counsel Munir A. Malik, who submitted that he was on general adjournment when the matter was heard and decided.
The bench said it had heard another counsel for the petitioner at length, but asked Mr Malik to advance his augments.
The bench dismisses the review petition of builder against its previous order
He argued that the building had not encroached upon the service road, adding that out of 1,044 square yards, 780 square yards were allotted and the remaining area was also obtained by the petitioner after paying the authorities as 23 other plot owners did.
He contended that the area in excess to allotment land neither belonged to any government authority nor private party.
The counsel further maintained that the 780 square yards was also not leased as there was no lease in the Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society (SMCHC) and it had filed a suit in the Sindh High Court in 1980s in this regard and the same was still pending.
While questioning the report of the Karachi commissioner, Mr Malik requested the court to appoint a court official to inspect the building in order to determine whether or not a portion of the building was encroaching upon the service road.
He also asked the bench to issue a notice to SMCHC.
The CJP asked why the court gave an order for inspection when the documents were available with it.
Justice Ahsan said that according to the report of the commissioner, among other things the land meant for service road was also encroached upon.
The bench in its earlier order had ruled, “After examining the entire record and scrutinising the reports submitted by all concerned agencies and departments, we are in no manner of doubt that the tower in question (Nasla Tower) has indeed been constructed on encroached land which amongst other things has also blocked a service road.”
It had also directed the builders to refund the amount to registered buyers of residential and commercial units within three months.
Details of all amenity plots sought
The bench also directed the city administration and other authorities concerned to come up with a comprehensive report on the next hearing regarding all ‘ST’ plots (amenity plots) located in Karachi in the light of the master plan and details about utilisation of such plots.
The court issued such directives while hearing the cases of the South City Hospital and Ziauddin Hospital.
In June, the apex court while issuing show-cause notices to them asked why the hospitals may not be removed from ‘ST’ plots since they were running commercial health facilities on land meant for amenity purpose.
On Wednesday, senior lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan filed a reply to the show-cause notice on behalf of Ziauddin Hospital and partly argued about the definition of ‘ST’ plot and would continue his arguments on the next hearing.
The bench allowed the South City Hospital to file a reply before the next hearing after one of the owners of the hospital appeared in court and requested for time.
Demolition of Aladdin Park completed, SC told
The Karachi commissioner submitted that the demolition of Pavilion End Club and all commercial activities on the premises of the Aladdin Amusement Park in Gulshan-i-Iqbal had been completed.
The bench directed him to restore the land into a park.
In June, the apex court had ordered the demolition of club, shops and all other commercial structures on the premises after observing that the Aladdin Park was converted into Pavilion End Club and membership was being offered against heavy fees along with carrying out other commercial activities.
The bench had made it clear that no private company would be allowed to operate on the subject land and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation would run it as a park.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2021