KARACHI: The builders and realtors operating in Karachi on Saturday called for immediate action plan from the authorities so they could do their business in line with defined laws otherwise, they warned, the situation emerged after the demolition of Nasla Towers under the Supreme Court orders could lead to suspension of all commercial activities in Karachi.
Addressing a press conference near Nasla Tower with fellow builders and allottees of the building, Association of Builders and Developers (Abad) chairman Mohsin Sheikhani wondered over the double standards being devised by institutions for one illegality and referred to some 700 buildings being still raised in Karachi without facing any warning or action from the government machinery.
The protesting builders and residents were also joined by politicians who came there to express solidarity with them.
He also appealed the key business bodies of the country including, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry to join hands with builders for a final business strategy in Karachi.
“We should decide together whether we could do any business in this city or not,” he said.
“This city generates revenue for the whole country. This is a business capital of Pakistan, but here we are treated as criminals. We get orders for bulldozing Nasla Tower but we never do anything about Bahria Town spread over 16,000 acres without any approval or regularisation. We are told about regularisation of Banigala. Why the law is different for different people?”
He reiterated that Abad had stopped work on all ongoing projects in Karachi in protest against uncertainty over the future of housing schemes as everyone was afraid that their buildings could be demolished in the future.
“We get approval of a single project from 17 different agencies,” he said. “Now I beg you to please tell us that from how many more agencies we need to get permission [for a project] so that there is no action against builders in the future. If you can’t run a transparent system then hand it over this regulation to DHA or even the Supreme Court may take it up. We can’t afford this uncertainty and fear like situation.”
In Hyderabad, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani called for looking at the issues like Nasla Tower demolition from human angle saying a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge may be appointed to come up with findings on these human settlements and future guidelines.
He said this while speaking at a programme of the Hyderabad Union of Journalists (HUJ) at the local press club.
Mr Ghani said the Punjab government had formed a commission to regularize 6,000 illegal societies. Proposing a judicial body, he said: “Such commission see whether we have to bomb settlements, displace them, penalize them.”
He said this commission must suggest ways to avoid such irregularities in future.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2021