Demolition of Nasla Tower begins from ground floor

Published November 25, 2021
Work to demolish the 15-storey Nasla Tower causes a massive traffic jam on arterial Sharea Faisal on Wednesday.—PPI
Work to demolish the 15-storey Nasla Tower causes a massive traffic jam on arterial Sharea Faisal on Wednesday.—PPI

KARACHI: The local administration on Wednesday finally started demolition operation of Nasla Tower hours after the Supreme Court rebuked the Karachi commissioner on his failure to comply with its orders, bringing the over five-month saga to almost its close as collapse of the 15-storey residential building through government machinery is imminent.

However, questions emerged over the method of demolition picked by the administration which unlike past operations of this nature chose to start demolition from the ground floor. The officials of Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and the Karachi commissioner supervising the labourers and heavy machinery operators, however, did not tell why they had started demolition from the ground unlike past operations against the illegal buildings when demolition operation usually began from the top.

Earlier in the morning, taking up the matter the Supreme Court directed the commissioner to immediately demolish Nasla Tower and warned him of action in case of non-compliance. The warning came after a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, asked Commissioner Iqbal Memon about the demolition of the building.

On SC order, a private club built on CAA land also being razed

Commissioner earns SC ire

The commissioner contended that about Rs220 million was required to demolish the building. The CJP came down hard on Mr Memon and said that the court had already passed an order that the cost of delimitation would be borne by the building’s owners/builders and the commissioner was also allowed to sell the land if the amount was not recovered from the builders.

The CJP warned that the commissioner would be sent to jail and removed from his post for not complying with court orders and delaying demolition process.

The commissioner offered an apology and the CJP directed him to immediately demolish the building and file a report during the course of day.

The matter is again likely to be taken up by the apex court on Thursday (today).

Initially, the apex court had ordered the demolition of the building in June for partly encroaching upon the land meant for a service road. In September the review petition of the builder of Nasla Tower against the June 16 order was turned down.

In June, the Supreme Court had also directed the builders to refund the amount to the registered buyers/allottees of residential and commercial units of the building within three months.

In case of any delay in payment, the claimants may claim mark-up/profit at the bank rate with damages and initiate proceedings for implementation of this order before the court of competent jurisdiction, the court ordered.

The residents of the building finally vacated the building on October 28.

CLOCKWISE: Heavy machinery begins demolishing the 15-storey Nasla Tower, a residential-cum-commercial building constructed on the service lane linking Sharea Faisal and Shahrah-i-Quaideen, on Wednesday. An excavator drills the structure after razing shutters of the shops on the ground floor. The road island and surrounding areas remained cordoned off with the yellow tape warning trespassers during the operation that authorities believe may take a few days to complete.—Fahim Siddiqi-White Star / PPI
CLOCKWISE: Heavy machinery begins demolishing the 15-storey Nasla Tower, a residential-cum-commercial building constructed on the service lane linking Sharea Faisal and Shahrah-i-Quaideen, on Wednesday. An excavator drills the structure after razing shutters of the shops on the ground floor. The road island and surrounding areas remained cordoned off with the yellow tape warning trespassers during the operation that authorities believe may take a few days to complete.—Fahim Siddiqi-White Star / PPI

Within minutes after the Supreme Court’s warning on Wednesday, things started moving around Nasla Tower where a fleet of heavy machinery including a bulldozer, excavators, compact track loaders, skid steer loaders, dozers and others were seen parking along the main road. Within next couple of hours, over a 100 men wearing protected gear came to the site to finally launch the demolition operation.

Extraordinary hustle and bustle was seen on the edge of Shahra-i-Quaideen off main Sharea Faisal where Nasla Tower is located. Over a dozen satellite vans of news channels coupled with vehicles of Rangers were lined up along the service lane. With traffic movement turning slow due to congestion on the main road, the operation was finally launched in the second half of the day.

Though there was no statement from the Karachi commissioner office about the expected timeline of the operation nor there was any word shared by the SBCA, with the pace of the operation it emerged that it could take days to complete the job.

Private club on CAA land

Similar action was seen near Karachi airport where a team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) led the operation and started demolition of a private club which was illegally raised on the land of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Heavy machinery started demolishing boundary wall and concrete structure of the club and the authorities were hopeful that the job would be completed by Thursday.

Earlier, the CJP observed as to how the club, which had private membership, could be allowed on the land of the CAA. The CAA director general said that the club was established in 1990s. However, he said that they were ready to remove the club on the court order.

Meanwhile, the SC bench directed the FIA to clear 209 acres of land allotted the CAA for building a new terminal from the encroachers and hand it over to aviation authority.

The CAA DG submitted that the 209 acres were allotted to the CAA by the Sindh government in 1992 but the Board of Revenue had illegally allotted the land to private persons by bifurcating it into plots.

The FIA submitted that they had registered two FIRs and arrested four persons as fake entries were made in the record of BoR.

The bench noted that as per report of the FIA, the BoR had allotted land to one Nabi Bux, who did not exit, and then power of attorneys was given to several private persons.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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