Sindh govt to suspend drive to raze properties

Published December 2, 2021
Houses are being demolished under an anti-encroachment operation near Kala Pul railway line on Wednesday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Houses are being demolished under an anti-encroachment operation near Kala Pul railway line on Wednesday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: Chief Minis­ter’s Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Wednesday said that the provincial government had decided to stop the ongoing anti-encroachment operation across the province.

“The anti-encroachment operation from Karachi to Kashmore will temporarily be suspended. The Sindh government has prepared an ordinance to stop the anti-encroachment operation,” he told a press conference.

Barrister Wahab, who is also the spokesperson for the provincial government as well as the administrator of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said that a commission would be set up under the ordinance to determine which non-commercial structures must not be demolished.

He said that the PPP drafted the ordinance and sent it to the governor. “The governor will approve the draft of the ordinance,” he said, claiming that the ordinance was made purely in the interest of the citizens.

He said that a retired judge would be the head of the proposed commission that would decide whether to regularise the construction or not. “We will also get the ordinance passed by the assembly,” he said.

He said that the law was the same in Sindh as it was in Punjab but only a paragraph was added that the anti-encroachment drive should be stopped immediately.

‘Consequences of land commercialisation’

As for the commercialisation of land, he said that it started in the tenure of former Karachi mayor Naimatullah Khan.

“When the citizens approached the courts against it [commercialisation], it was decided [by the court] that it is the prerogative of the [then] city government,” he added.

He said that several areas were commercialised and the consequences of that decision were being felt today.

“This problem has spread all over Pakistan. Societies have been formed on agricultural land in Islamabad. It is asked that a building [Nasla Tower] is being demolished [in Karachi] but why it is not happening in Banigala in Islamabad,” he added.

He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party passed a resolution in the Sindh Assembly on the issue of the anti-encroachment drive and urged the need for legislation so as to reduce miseries of the citizens.

He said that those who held press conferences on the issue of Nasla Tower had ‘escaped’ from the Sindh Assembly.

The Karachi administrator said that action should be taken against the encroachments on drains.

‘SBCA gave permission for Nasla Tower’

In a reply to a question, he said that the provincial government did not allot land for Nasla Tower as the Sindhi Muslim Society was not under its administrative control. “This property was commercialised in 2007 at that time Mustafa Kamal was the city nazim,” he said.

Barrister Wahab said that after commercialisation, the Sindh Building Control Authority gave permission for the construction of Nasla Tower. “The land actually belonged to KMC and in 2000 the court ruled that the land was given to Sindhi Muslim Society in exchange for money,” he said.

He also asked Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to stop the politics of ‘segregation’.

He also condemned the killing of office secretary of the Sindh Bar Council Irfan Mahar and said that the killers would be arrested at the earliest.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021

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