KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the commissioner of Karachi to get the 15-storey Nasla Tower vacated by Wednesday and demolish it through a controlled blast within a week.

A three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, also asked the commissioner to ensure disconnection of all utility connections and submit a compliance report after completing the demolition process.

When the matter came up for hearing before the bench also comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed, Commis­sioner Iqbal Memon submitted that he would be taking the building possession within a few days.

The bench asked him to use latest technology, being used in other countries, to demolish the building while ensuring that no loss to life and property be caused during the demolition whose cost be borne by its owners/builders.

The commissioner was allowed to sell the land if the amount was not recovered from the builders.

The apex court had ordered demolition of the building in June, as among other issues a sizeable part of the structure had been built on encroached land of a service road.

In September, the court had dismissed review petition of the owners/builders and granted one month to occupants of the building, directing the Karachi commissioner to start the demolition work after a month.

Demolition around nullahs to continue

The SC bench suspended all the interim stay orders granted by the Sindh High Court related to constructions around three nullahs of Karachi and directed the relevant authorities to continue the demolition drive.

A representative of Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) informed the court that the demolition drive launched on an SC order to remove encroachments around Gujjar, Orangi Town and Mehmoodabad nullahs had been affected due to the interim restraining orders on several cases/suits filed by the occupants of such properties built on nullahs land on the basis of alleged lease.

The CJP said that apex court in its June order had already decided the issues of alleged leases around such nullahs as the same were not found in accordance with law. He questioned how the authorities had leased out such land when it could not be used for any residential and commercial activities.

He directed the KMC to continue the drive against all such encroachments without interruption.

DG CAA summoned

The SC was also displeased with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for running wedding halls on its premises and summoned its director general but a deputy director informed the bench that the DG was in Islamabad.

The apex court also summoned a senior member of the Board of Revenue along with the report after it was apprised that the issue of land allotted to the CAA had come under discussion at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee and the PAC had ordered a joint survey of the land.

The CJP deplored that while the CAA had not been focusing on the subject it had been assigned, as the airport had almost been deserted with a significant drop in air traffic, the authority was running marriage halls on the land meant for airport services.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2021

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