Residents vacate Nasla Tower to facilitate demolition

Published October 29, 2021
LAST of the occupants take away their belongings to vacate Nasla Tower on Thursday evening.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
LAST of the occupants take away their belongings to vacate Nasla Tower on Thursday evening.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Demolition of Nasla Tower seems to be imminent in line with an order of the Supreme Court with almost all families living in the multi-storey building having vacated their respective apartments.

They are shifting to somewhere else to leave the building at the disposal of the district administration, which took over the 15-storey structure under escort of personnel from law-enforcement agencies.

Although the deadline given by the district administration to all residents of the “illegally-constructed Nasla Tower” was Oct 27, the officials allowed them time to leave within a couple of more days. “The authorities don’t need to take coercive action,” Deputy Commissioner East Asif Jan Siddiqi told Dawn. “Almost all families have left their apartments. The occupants are only taking time to move their belongings. They have requested us for some time and I hope it may take a day more to take away their belongings. We are here in control and the police are also deployed here. Since things are moving smoothly, we don’t want to cause any trouble to them,” he said on Thursday evening.

The outgoing occupants were told by the district administration on October 15 to vacate the building by Oct 27 or face coercive action.

The assistant commissioner of Ferozabad had issued an eviction notice to the Nasla Tower residents and such notice was also placed in the print media. The notice warned that necessary proceedings under Section 3 (i) of the Sindh Public Property (Removal of Encroachment) Act, 2010 or “other coercive action” might be initiated against them if they failed to vacate the building by the deadline.

The Supreme Court on Sept 22 dismissed a review petition against the earlier order it had passed to demolish the building. The court had also asked the Karachi commissioner to submit a compliance report and ensure that the building was vacated.

The apex court also directed the builders of Nasla Tower to refund the amount to the registered buyers of the residential and commercial units within three months.

On June 16, a three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed ordered demolition of the building that stands on a piece of land meant for a service road.

“Almost all occupants have left their apartments. All utility connections have already been cut off. My family has also moved out. Only a few things were left inside which I came today to take away,” he added.

With some 40 families leaving the building, an extraordinary activity was witnessed on the edge of Shahra-i-Quaideen off Sharea Faisal where Nasla Tower is located.

Over a dozen digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) vehicles of TV channels coupled with mobile vans of Karachi police and Rangers were lined up along the service road.

The families faced a flurry of questions by the media personnel.

“We haven’t been contacted yet by anyone for refund or compensation,” said a man moving towards a mini-truck parked nearby. “We don’t have any option and are now moving out only to comply with the Supreme Court orders. We don’t know what lies ahead. We have done our part of this [SC] order and now it’s the authorities’ turn to do their part and make sure payment of compensation and alternative residence to the affected families.”

He was not sure but took a guess that more than 40 families were living in the building. A few flats remained closed as their owners were living abroad, he said.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2021

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