Protesting builders, residents baton-charged outside Nasla Tower

Published November 27, 2021
POLICE use batons to break the protest of residents and builders near Nasla Tower on Friday.—PPI
POLICE use batons to break the protest of residents and builders near Nasla Tower on Friday.—PPI

KARACHI: While police and Rangers on Friday evening resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge to disperse protesting residents and builders trying to stop the razing of Nasla Tower, the Supreme Court directed the Karachi commissioner to expedite the demolition process of the building and complete it within a week.

Officials and witnesses said that the protesters belonging to the Association of Builders and Developers (Abad) arrived at the place and tried to block Sharea Faisal near Nursery roundabout, when law enforcers took action against them.

East SSP Qamar Raza Jiskani told Dawn that the protesters allegedly tried to take law into their own hands.

“The police and Rangers took action and dispersed the crowd,” added the senior officer. He said that no one was arrested. However, the officer hinted that there was a possibility of lodging an FIR against the protesters.

SC gives one week to demolish high-rise; builders want to know who has final authority in approval matters

Traffic was suspended on the main artery that links the city to the airport and the National Highway.

Construction work stopped in city

Earlier, the builders association had announced that they would hold a protest on service road in front of Nasla Tower.

In a statement, Abad chairman Mohsin Sheikhani had said that they would be halting work on all approved projects in Karachi.

He claimed that “despite the approvals of the buildings and projects from all the government agencies they stand null and void”. He said they request the government to inform them “who is the final authority for seeking approvals”.

He said: “Abad is against the illegal encroachments and illegal construction. If illegal projects are constructed, it is the duty of government agencies to check them and give a no-objection certificate and Abad is following approvals strictly.”

But despite approvals and getting permissions, there were the moves to shatter the confidence of the people, he said, adding: “We are backstabbing the overseas Pakistani and local investors who have invested millions of rupees.”

Announcing halting of work at projects in Karachi, Hyderabad and other cities, the Abad chairman vowed that “slowly the work in other parts of the country will also be stopped”.

SC gives one week for demolition

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed directed the commissioner to expedite the demolition process of the 15-storey Nasla Tower and complete it in a week and to ensure safety of public and its property.

Commissioner Iqbal Memon filed a fresh report on Friday along with some photographs showing that some walls of the ground floor of the building to upper floors had been removed.

When the CJP asked him why the demolition process was started from the ground floor, the commissioner replied that he had engaged the services of some experts/engineers who were present on the spot and supervising the process.

Replying to another query of the bench, he said that there were 200 workers taking part in the demolition drive. The CJP directed him to enhance the strength of workers from 200 to 400 workers and expedite the process.

During the hearing, the CJP expressed serious resentment on Jamaat-i-Islami’s Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman for ‘disturbing’ the hearing as he repeatedly attempted to address the court about compensation for allotttees of Nasla Tower.

The CJP told him that the court had already passed an order directing the builders to refund the amount to all allotttees.

The chief justice also questioned his locus standi in the matter and asked him to maintain silence, but the JI city chief insisted on arguing.

The CJP remarked that this was not the forum to deliver a political speech and warned to charge him with contempt proceedings.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021

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