KARACHI: Police claimed to have arrested four persons booked for carrying out ‘illegal/unauthorised’ construction on a heritage building in Parsi Colony near Holy Family Hospital, it emerged on Sunday.

The action was taken after the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), district administration and secretary of the Parsi Cooperative Housing Society Ltd took notice of some illegal construction activities on the building premises.

Five persons, said to be responsible for alleged illegal construction, were nominated in an FIR and later arrested.

Soldier Bazaar SHO Waqar Azeem told Dawn that the police had registered the FIR under relevant sections of the Sindh Cultural Heritage (Preservation) Act 1994 on the complaint of Rustam D. Bhurekhan, secretary of the Parsi housing society.

According to the FIR, the complainant said five persons — Mohammed Irfan, Rajab Ali, Ghulam Akbar, Babu Ali and Adnan Ali — had allegedly occupied the heritage building illegally and started unauthorised construction.

The SHO said they had arrested four nominated suspects while the fifth one got pre-arrest bail.

He said the suspects first raised an outer wall of the heritage bungalow and started demolishing its inner structure.

Senior director of the KMC’s anti-encroachment department Bashir Siddiqui sent a letter to the SHO of the Soldier Bazaar police station and other relevant departments stating that the ‘amenity plot’ had been encroached upon, which was against the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, thus ‘illegal encroachment’ required to be removed and the construction also demolished.

The Jamshed Quarters assistant commissioner had also written letters to the directors of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and heritage authorities of the Sindh culture department on the complaint of the Parsi Colony secretary.

He stated in the letters that certain persons were “again trying to start the construction on the plot (No.14) of Parsi housing society, which was a gross violation of the building as well as heritage laws”.

The SHO said that those elements had installed a board at a wall of the bungalow, inscribing an academy/school for identical purpose of encroachment and illegal construction.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2022

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